London funds buy Erneside Centre for more than £34m
Fermanagh's main shopping centre Erneside has been sold to two London property investment companies for £34.25m (€48m).
Marks & Spencer, Next and New Look are the three main anchor tenants at Erneside in Enniskillen, and Vodafone, Clarks and Costa Coffee also occupy units.
The shopping centre specialist Ellandi and real-estate asset management firm Tristan Capital Partners made the purchase this month from long-term owner Diageo Pension Trust.
The pension fund had owned the shopping centre since 1998, and carried out major extensions from 1998-2000 and 2006-2008.
The centre, which was built in 1989, is currently at 97pc occupancy.
Ellandi - which will also act as the asset manager - and Tristan Capital Partners already have a long-standing working relationship, but this is the first time either firm has made an investment in Northern Ireland.
Ellandi owns 21 shopping centres throughout the UK, while most of Tristan Capital Partners' acquisitions are in continental Europe, as well as a presence in the UK. Last month, the two firms bought Dartford Shopping Centre for £33m.
Chris Webb, associate director at Tristan Capital Partners, said this was the right time for the firm to enter the property market in the province. "Erneside is the dominant large shopping centre in Co Fermanagh, and attracts around 3m visitors a year," he said. "This is an opportune time for Tristan to take its first step into the Northern Irish investment market and acquire a high quality asset at an attractive price."
Mr Webb added that the market in the Province is behind that of the rest of the UK, providing better value as an investment.
He said: "The Northern Irish market is still showing a disproportionate yield discount to the UK mainland."