Business Irish

Tuesday 26 September 2017

New Hibernia REIT bids for Central Park development

Finance Minister Michael Noonan with Kevin Nolan, CEO Hibernia REIT and Deirdre Somers, chief executive of the Irish Stock Exchange, at the launch of Hibernia REIT's admission to trading in the Irish Stock Exchange
Finance Minister Michael Noonan with Kevin Nolan, CEO Hibernia REIT and Deirdre Somers, chief executive of the Irish Stock Exchange, at the launch of Hibernia REIT's admission to trading in the Irish Stock Exchange

Roisin Burke

HIBERNIA REIT, Ireland's second listed property fund was admitted to the Irish stock and London stock exchanges yesterday.

The fund, led by former NAMA executive Kevin Nowlan, has raised €365m.

Hibernia is among the bidders for the Central Park development in south Dublin, after the deadline for bids passed yesterday.

Hibernia has apparently made a bid for at least part of the development that is valued at €250m.

Green REIT has made a joint bid with Kennedy Wilson, while Apollo Global Management and Clancourt Group are among a slew of other bidders.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan welcomed the launch of the REIT, saying: "This will bring further investment capital to the Irish property market, and will also provide increased choice for investors.

Legislation allowing for REITs, which are tax-friendly property investment funds, was introduced earlier this year.

High-profile Hibernia investors include a fund led by George Sorus, Louis Bacon's Moore Capital and US pension giant CREF.

Hibernia plans to acquire high-quality commercial property in Dublin.

Kevin Nowlan previously worked for Treasury Holdings and prior to that worked for Anglo Irish Bank. It is thought that more REITs will be launched next year, but that these will not be 'blind' funds like Green and Hibernia REITs, but rather asset-backed funds, possibly set up by NAMA or California distressed property investor Kennedy Wilson, which owns large amounts of Irish commercial and residential property.

Earlier this year Stephen Vernon's Green REIT became the first of such funds to launch in Ireland. It has made several acquisitions including a €127m Danske Bank portfolio. Bond giant Franklin Templeton and John Paulson's US hedge fund are investors.

Hibernia's board is a roll call of respected business figures including Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington, former KPMG boss Terence O'Rourke and ex-Nationwide chairman Danny Kitchen.

Kevin Nowlan's father, Bill, a longtime proponent of REITs and principal of property company WK Nowlan is also a Hibernia director.

Irish Independent

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