Business Irish

Monday 19 August 2019

Newcomer Henderson Park in line to buy Green REIT's €1.3bn Irish assets

Hibernia REIT's CEO Kevin Nowlan
Hibernia REIT's CEO Kevin Nowlan

Ellie Donnelly and Shawn Pogatchnik

Green REIT has named UK-based Henderson Park Capital as the preferred bidder for the entire company, reckoned to be worth around €1.3bn.

Green REIT's management put the business up for sale in April, citing the persistent gap between the valuation of its property portfolio and its share price.

At the time, shares in Ireland's first stock market listed real estate investment trust (REIT) were trading at around €1.50.

Second-round 'best and final' bids for the commercial property business were made on July 25.

Green's financial advisers JP Morgan and Davy have since moved to select a preferred bidder. Prolific Irish property investors Irish Life and Kennedy Wilson were also understood to have progressed to the second round.

But they have been edged aside by Henderson Park, a mostly London-focused property investment firm set up in 2016 by Nick Weber, a former Goldman Sachs and Mount Kellett employee.

The Green REIT deal comes just days after Henderson Park made its initial foray into the Irish market, with a deal to buy the Heuston South Quarter (HSQ) in Dublin from New York-based Marathon Asset Management.

The much bigger Green REIT sale includes a portfolio of prime offices let to the likes of the Revenue Commissioners, Barclays Bank and Vodafone, a developing logistics park near Dublin Airport, and development sites beside the Central Park office park in south Dublin. Key assets include the Central Park office campus in Leopardstown, Fitzwilliam Hall in Dublin 2, and One Albert Quay in Cork city.

Meanwhile, Hibernia REIT's CEO Kevin Nowlan said yesterday that Brexit is lifting demand in the Irish office market.

"Would Facebook, would Google, would LinkedIn, would Airbnb grow so much in Ireland as opposed to the UK? There's definitely growth in Dublin that otherwise would have gone to the UK. It's safer and they know they're going to be in an EU jurisdiction in five or 10 years' time," he said after an annual general meeting yesterday in Dublin.

He also said that there may be "a few small assets" Hibernia could look to buy from Green REIT's buyer, "but nothing major".

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