St. Modwen divests 27% of retail portfolio

Listed UK regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties has spun off two retail assets in Birmingham and Wembley, including the Longbridge Shopping Park to Columbia Threadneedle Investments on behalf of Zurich Assurance for £53 mln (€60.5 mln), reflecting a 6% initial yield. 

The other deal involves the sale of Wembley Central in London for an undisclosed sum. On average, the combined consideration marks a 4% discount to the latest book value of the assets, the company said.

'These disposals are in line with our strategic objective to increase our portfolio focus on assets with better structural growth characteristics, and our intention to sell £100-150 mln of retail and small assets during 2018,' said Mark Allan, chief executive, St. Modwen.

The 220,000 ft2 (20,440 m2) Longbridge Shopping Park in Birmingham includes a 150,000 ft2 Marks & Spencer, with further units let to a range of occupiers, including Smyths Toys, Boots, Poundland, Mountain Warehouse, Holland & Barrett, Carphone Warehouse and Specsavers.

The asset forms part of St. Modwen’s £1 bn Longbridge regeneration project, a long-term scheme which is currently around 50% developed.

Accelerated delivery
'We plan to use the capital we release via these sales to bring forward future phases of Longbridge and accelerate the delivery of our 7.5 million ft2 near-term industrial/logistics development pipeline,' added Allan.

The company also exchanged contracts for the disposal of Wembley Central in London, which comprises an 118,000 ft2 shopping centre and 86-bed Travelodge.

The two assets represented 27% of the company’s retail property portfolio by value as of November 2017.

Allan concluded by saying that the majority of the capital released would be retained for 'longer term' use, 'which with a yield on incremental capex of circa 9% will deliver a marked income pick-up relative to the average yield on these disposals'.


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