Friday 23 March 2018

€2bn available for REITs as Kennedy Wilson eyes up possible listing

Commercial property
Commercial property

Donal Buckley and Donal O'Donovan

A POOL of as much as €2bn in capital is available to invest in stock market listed Irish property REITs, a leading tax expert has told the Irish Independent.

It comes as speculation mounts that Kennedy Wilson is set to list an Irish real estate investment trust (REIT) after the US investor confirmed that it is eying European capital-raising options, including potentially a stock market listing.

Irish property investment fund IPUT is also being tipped as a potential REIT sponsor.

Legislation clearing the way for tax efficient REITs came into force last year and to date two listed funds -- the Green and Hibernia REITs -- have raised more than €600m between them to invest in property.

Tax partner at KPMG Jim Clery estimates that there is a further between €1.5bn and €2bn available for investment in REITs.

"Some of these funds may well be absorbed by the two existing Irish REITs should they seek more funds for further property purchases. Alternatively the funds could be targeted by two or three new REITs," he adds.

Kennedy Wilson is remaining tight- lipped on its plans for a stock market listing, with a spokeswoman saying talk of an Irish REIT is speculative at this stage.

However, last week the US-based firm told investors that it was eying a potential listing in Europe, among a number of financing options.

"We are currently considering potential capital-raising opportunities in Europe, which may include transactions through a publicly listed vehicle, private funds or separate accounts," the firm said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Kennedy Wilson has emerged as a prolific buyer of Irish property assets, with a focus on prime residential and commercial complexes.

The California-based investor already has listed investment structures in the US and Japan. If it does list a vehicle here it may invest approximately $100m to $150m of its own funds -- either cash of assets in the venture, according to the SEC filing.

IPUT had not responded to our queries before we went to press.

Irish Independent

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