Merin buys 20 Dutch offices following Goldman Sachs refinancing

Merin, the Dutch property company owned by private equity firms Patron Capital and TPG, has acquired 20 offices spread across the Netherlands.

The vendor of the 134,000 m2 portfolio was UK-based privately held investment firm Victory Advisors.

Victory Advisors acquired the portfolio in a series of acquisitions between 2012 and 2015 at a time when investor sentiment towards the Netherlands was extremely negative. At acquisition, most of the properties were underinvested and required substantial asset management and investment.

Following an active and intensive asset management strategy, the portfolio is positioned for the next stage in its evolution. The portfolio will likely benefit from the continuing improvement of the Dutch market, the country’s strong underlying economic fundamentals and its scarcity of Grade A assets, as well as becoming a part of the Merin platform.

JLL advised Victory Advisors in the transaction.

The financial details were not disclosed, but PropertyEU Research estimates the volume of the transaction at €170-180 mln. 

The sale relates to the former UBS/Orange portfolio of mainly multi-tenant office properties. The portfolio - now dubbed Motta - includes the Vogelstruys and Apollo (pictured) buildings in the southeast district of Amsterdam. It has been known in the market for some time that JLL had the sales mandate for the office package.  

The acquisition coincides with a €300 mln refinancing loan for Merin's existing portfolio provided by Goldman Sachs. Earlier this week, PropertyEU's new weekly bulletin EuroProperty reported that the US lender crystallised a significant profit in a 'cash-out' transaction replacing an 18-month-old facility. 

The new loan replaces a €240 mln, five-year term loan priced at just over 300 basis points which was jointly underwritten by Dutch banks ING and ABN Amro at the end of 2015. At that time Merin's portfolio was valued at €565 mln and included 175 mainly office and light industrial properties across the Netherlands.

Merin was established in 2013 out of the Dutch Uni-Invest portfolio which TPG and Patron acquired in 2012 via the acquisition and restructuring of a defaulted CMBS deal, Opera Finance (Uni-Invest).

The original Uni-Invest deal was the first distressed European CMBS to default at maturity after the financial crisis. The company carried €743 mln of debt when Patron and TPG bought it for an effective price of €359 mln.

EuroProperty's report on the latest financing cited a source as saying Goldman Sachs is considering securitising its new loan on the portfolio.

The portfolio enables Merin to scale its platform and strengthen its office portfolio across the country. Merin plans to roll out its boutique concepts in the buildings that are mainly located in the greater Amsterdam region. Several other buildings in the portfolio are located in Zwolle, Arnhem and Deventer which are locations where Merin already has local market presence and a strong client base.

The Merin boutique concept is designed to enable clients to combine work and relaxation and 'create a place where people like to go to and be happy, healthy and successful'. These offices combine inspiring office space, high-quality healthy food and the possibility to exercise in combination with customer focused and personal service, the office landlord says.

Bas van Holten, CEO of Merin: 'We have continued to work hard to improve both the quality of our Merin buildings and the service for our clients. We have seen strong results in our acquired assets and consistently achieve high customer service ratings from our tenants. The acquisition of this portfolio allows us to create additional value doing what we do best - namely creating office space where people go to and where they can be happy, healthy and successful.'

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