Hermes confirms sale of Bluewater stake to Royal London

By Kasmira Jefford - Tuesday, September 12, 2017 12:05

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Hermes Investment Management has confirmed it has exchanged contracts on the sale of its 7.5% stake in Bluewater shopping centre to The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited (Royal London), as reported yesterday by CoStar News.

The mutual is understood to have paid around £155m for the stake, below the original £167m asking price, and will also gain a seat on the Board of the shopping centre, alongside other stakeholders, including Aberdeen Asset Management and LandSec.

HP Four advised Hermes Investment Management on the sale. Coady Supple acted for Royal London.

Michael Lawrence, Head of Retail at Royal London Asset Management, said: “This acquisition of Hermes Investment Management’s 7.5% stake in Bluewater shopping centre represents a strong new addition to our portfolio, as we continue to target high quality assets in the retail space. As one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK and Europe, this new holding provides us with a good opportunity to invest in one of the region’s most popular shopping destinations.”

Chris Taylor, head of private markets at Hermes Investment Management, said: “As we continue to diversify our global portfolio, this sale of our 7.5% stake in Bluewater shopping centre is a good result for the fund. It leaves us well placed to focus on our strategy of re-deploying capital into the market, as well as identifying new acquisitions where we believe additional value can be added through asset management.”

The Located in Dartford, Kent, Bluewater is valued at in excess of £2bn and is one of Europe's largest shopping centres. Totalling 1.7m sq ft, it attracts approximately 27m visitors per year and houses 330 retail outlets, including 40 cafes and restaurants and a 13-screen cinema.

The sale comes as Lendlease and GIC prepare relaunch the sale of their combined 42.5% stakes in the 1.8m sq ft mall later this month, for in excess of £900m. 

The pair followed Hermes in deciding to sell their respective 25% and 17.5% shares in June and July, independently of each other. GIC, advised by Knight Frank, was initially seeking around £400m for its share while Lendlease’s 25% stake, which it manages on behalf of its closed ended fund Lendlease Retail LP, was valued at £600m.

Royal London is a significant investor in the Lendlease Retail LP and by acquiring Hermes' stake, Royal London will be able to retain its ownership in Bluewater.

kjefford@costar.co.uk

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