ABP buys stake in UK real estate firm
UK - ABP, the 150 billion-euro Dutch civil service pension fund, has acquired a minority stake in the UK-based student accommodation company Unite Group.
The scheme, Europe’s largest, snapped up almost five million ordinary shares of 25p each, representing a 4.48% interest.
ABP did not want to comment on the dealing, saying it never talked about its individual share transactions.
A London-based analyst said it was “not unusual” for a large player like ABP to be buying into a small property company like Unite Group.
Schroder Investment Management holds a seven percent stake in the Bristol-based group, with Fidelity International and Legal & General Investment Management controlling five and three percent respectively. accommodation services
Unite Group, which is headed by founder and majority shareholder Nicholas Porter (with a 12% stake), is market leader in providing value-for-money student accommodation.
Although the shares hit a high of around 425p in 2001, they had fallen to almost 100p at the beginning of last year. The stock has since seen a strong rise and is currently hovering around 250p.
In a recent research note, analysts with UBS gave the stock a ‘buy’ recommendation, with a target price of 290p.
Unite Group is yet to make a profit, having re-invested most of its cash flow into new land. Its current portfolio includes 21,000 beds, with an annual roll-out of 5,000 more beds.