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Canada's Timbercreek shifts from Ires into Hibernia REIT

 

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Hibernia boss Kevin Nowlan

Hibernia boss Kevin Nowlan

Hibernia boss Kevin Nowlan

CANADA'S Timbercreek Asset Management has emerged as a shareholder in Irish property investment firm Hibernia REIT.

It holds a stake of just over 3pc in the listed company, according to filings with the stock exchange. That makes Timbercreek one of the top 10 shareholders in Hibernia.

It comes after Timbercreek, with $10bn (€8.9bn) of assets under management, reduced its holding in recent weeks in Ires REIT, Ireland's biggest private landlord.

Early last month, the Canadian company cut its Ires stake from 5.98pc to 4.82pc. That was Timbercreek's first sale of shares in Ires since August last year, when it reduced it from 6.81pc. The investment firm has continued to reduce its holding in Ires REIT, and now holds 3.95pc.

Timbercreek's 3.05pc stake in Hibernia REIT, whose chief executive is Kevin Nowlan, is currently worth just over €23m based on the property firm's €756m market capitalisation yesterday.

Hibernia was floated on the stock market in late 2013 raising an initial €385m to invest in Irish property. In 2014, it completed a secondary offer, raising €300m more.

Releasing preliminary results last week, Hibernia REIT said that its EPRA earnings per share - a key indicator of its underlying profitability - jumped 40pc in its financial year to the end of March.

The company's portfolio was valued at €1.46bn at the end of the period, up 2pc in the year and 1.4pc higher in the second quarter.

Excluding stamp duty, the portfolio value rose 3.5pc in the year and by 2.9pc in the second half.

Hibernia had net debt of €241.4m at the end of the financial year, representing a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 16.5pc. It said that LTV ratio is one of the lowest amongst European REITs.

Hibernia REIT owns a number of assets including prime Dublin offices. Its biggest presence is in Dublin's tech-heavy South Docks, where it has assets valued at €522m.

Speaking last week, Mr Nowlan said that the full impact of the pandemic on market rents and property values "is yet to be felt", but that the company was "well positioned" to withstand it.

He said the firm had only seen a modest impact on its rent collection levels despite the pandemic.

"We believe the current health crisis is underlining the importance of city centre offices as places for employees to work together and exchange information and ideas," the company said. "We remain confident in the long term prospects of the central Dublin office market and the Dublin residential market and will continue to manage the business and our pipeline of developments accordingly."

In April, Timbercreek said global REITs had suffered their worst performance since the depths of the financial crisis, with their shares down 28.3pc at that stage in dollar terms.

"However, lower stock prices have resulted in valuations becoming meaningfully more attractive than three months ago, with some companies already pricing in a potential worst-case scenario, while others are not," it noted, adding that global REITs were then trading at a 30pc discount to their intrinsic value. 

Irish Independent