Barclays unit sells $1.4 billion student housing stake to PGGM

LONDON Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:15am EDT

Barclays bank headquarters in Canary Wharf, east London August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

Barclays bank headquarters in Canary Wharf, east London August 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Olivia Harris

LONDON (Reuters) - A Barclays (BARC.L) unit has sold a 60 percent stake in Britain's largest student housing landlord, University Partnerships Programme (UPP), to Dutch pension fund manager PGGM in a deal estimated to be worth 840 million pounds ($1.35 billion).

PGGM, which has 125 billion euros ($161 billion) in assets under management, did not disclose the deal value. Barclays's Infrastructure Funds (BIF) unit said UPP had an enterprise value, a broad measure of what the company is worth in a takeover, of 1.4 billion pounds.

"The deal is a good example of implementing the fund's direct investment strategy in stable social infrastructure sectors with a long term focus," PGGM's Head of Infrastructure, Henk Huizing, said in a statement.

BIF, which first invested in UPP in 1997, is also considering selling its remaining 40 percent stake to capitalise on strong investor demand for student housing, a source familiar with the deal told Reuters.

The student accommodation sector's high occupancy rates and stable income streams has given it greater appeal over other classes of real estate like offices and shops. It has attracted a rising number of institutional investors like insurer Aviva (AV.L) and private equity firm Round Hill Capital.

Investors poured nearly 800 million pounds into student housing in the first half of 2012, property consultancy CBRE (CBG.N) said in July, more than double the 375 million pounds invested over the same period last year.

UPP manages a portfolio of 28,000 student rooms across the UK and has a rent roll of 133 million pounds. Its group turnover for the financial year ending 2011 was 104 million pounds.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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