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Pension funds close largest property development deal in Danish history

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EUROPE - Danish institutions PenSam and Topdanmark have joined PFA Pension, Realdania and Carlsberg in a consortium to buy the former Carlsberg brewery site in Copenhagen in a property deal worth around DKK2.5bn (€335m).

Property foundation Realdania and PFA Pension said last summer they would buy the development site from Carlsberg, provided that the Danish brewer found other investors to take the remaining 30% stake.

The consortium now comprises Realdania (25%), Carlsberg (25%), PFA Pension (20%), PenSam (15%), and Topdanmark (15%).

They described the deal as the largest Danish development transaction in history.

Jørn Jensen, Carlsberg's group deputy chief executive and CFO, said: "We are pleased that it has been possible to establish this strong consortium of investors who will be responsible for transforming the area into an exciting neighbourhood in Copenhagen.

"We are also satisfied the Carlsberg Group is already now realising significant value from this transaction, which will be used to further deleverage the group."

At the same time, he said Carlsberg expected to generate significant value in the years to come by being a minority shareholder in the consortium.

Topdanmark real estate subsidiary Topdanmark Ejendom had been in negotiations with the consortium for almost a year before the agreement announced today was finally reached.

Birger Grubbe, chief executive at Topdanmark Ejendom, said: "I am very pleased with the deal. I consider Carlsberg City to be a very attractive site, which is close to the city centre. I expect the urbanisation that has been seen across Western Europe to continue in Denmark as well."

Although the industrial site is currently in a raw state, Grubbe said he was confident the developers would be able to create an "intimate" site that would be attractive for residents.

He said Topdanmark expected to achieve an eventual return on the investment that exceeded that for standard residential and commercial property because of the additional risk of development.

The deal includes a site area of 250,000 square meters in Valby, on the edge of Copenhagen's city centre.

The site - known as Carlsberg City (Carlsbergbyen) - is to be developed into residential, commercial and cultural areas.

The total development floor area will cover 567,000 square meters, the parties said.

Several buildings in the historic site will be preserved and refurbished, and more than 500,000 square meters of buildings will be built, including nine slim towers up to 120 metres high, they said.

Around 3,000 residential units are expected to be built in a variety of forms, from student housing to penthouse flats.

The development is based on a plan by Danish architectural firm Entasis.

The parties said there was already strong interest in Carlsberg City from the investor and occupier sides.

Several projects have already been presold, and work on other significant developments is expected to start soon, they said.

The development period is expected to last for around 15 years.

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