Korean investor inks UK's largest retail warehouse deal of the year

Korean investor, Hana Financial Investments in a real estate fund managed by Korea Asset Investment Management (KAIM), has acquired the Gallagher shopping park in Wednesbury, UK from US investment firm KKR and UK developer Quadrant Estates for £175 mln (€196 mln).

The transaction is the largest single asset sale in the UK retail warehouse sector this year and the first time Korean investors have ever stepped into UK retail.

Sangmin Lee, CIO of KAIM, said: 'We are delighted to have acquired this asset, which offers our investors an attractive combination of secure income returns and longer term upside potential. We are attracted to it by its inherent strength evidenced by the retailers’ trading performance and location. We are looking forward to working with Quadrant as our local asset manager to secure the future performance of the park during our investment period.'

The park was acquired by KKR together with its specialist operating partner, Quadrant Estates, in 2014 by piecing together three separate ownerships at a cost of £123 mln. KKR’s investment was made through its Real Estate Opportunity fund.

Rent roll rises after repositioning
The landlords subsequently redeveloped, extended and repositioned the scheme investing a total of £17 mln in the asset and lifting the rent roll by £2 mln a year.

Guillaume Cassou, member and head of European Real Estate at KKR, said: 'We backed a fundamentally good asset in need of repositioning and Quadrant implemented an intensive business plan over four years that has resulted in a great end product, which we have now sold to long-term income-focussed capital. We were delighted to transact with Hana and KAIM on their first foray into the UK market.'

Christopher Daniel, founding partner at Quadrant Estates, said: 'We achieved exactly what we set out to do with the park. We created an asset that has a WALT (weighted average lease term) of greater than 10 years and is one of the few investments in the country that has evident reversionary potential.'

KKR and Quadrant were represented by JLL and Wilkinson Williams. Hana and KAIM were advised by Montagu Evans.


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