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Friday 23 March 2018

REIT changing the landscape

Tesco’s chief executive Philip Clarke is facing a “crucial stand” after full-year profits at the world’s third biggest retailer fell 6pc
Tesco’s chief executive Philip Clarke is facing a “crucial stand” after full-year profits at the world’s third biggest retailer fell 6pc

Does the €1 property share spell the end for traditional bedsit kings and queens?

The new Irish residential (IRES) "REIT," the latest property vehicle floated on the stock market here has its eye trained firmly on the private rental market – long dominated by semi-professional buy to let investors – and let's face it there was a time when the Punt paid over our weekly £25 rent to what were at best rank amateurs.

Backer CapREIT is a already a huge player in its home market of Canada with around 40,000 properties under its control.

Here, the €200m raised by IRES REIT this week in its €1 a share IPO provides a huge war chest for it to buy up residential buildings and schemes, which the company will manage and let. They are promising to set the "gold standard" for rental homes.

Buildings let mainly to older people could feature bingo rooms and social space, properties targeting young professionals will have a gym, for example.

It's all a far cry from the days when you were lucky not to share a bathroom, and the kitchen was a hotplate behind string room dividers.

By the sound of things the changing market is going to be a winner for renters – the big question is whether small investors will change their mind-set too – and make the leap from buying bricks and mortar, however humble, to trading stocks and shares for their property exposure.


Killeen's Mount Juliet bogey

As the Killeen Group bids farewell to the Mount Juliet estate in Co Kilkenny, the memories won't all be fond ones. The fallout from a property venture on the estate will surely bring a sour taste. The Killeen Group's Mount Juliet Properties vehicle was responsible for the construction of 10 luxury homes close to the estate. The homes were completed in 2008 and went on the market for between €1.75m and €2m. But the owners of two of the houses claimed the properties they bought contained defects and sued. The action against Mount Juliet Properties was resolved and accounts for the company revealed it had taken a €13m hit after settling.

The firm sought an indemnity and contribution from Melcarne Developments, trading as Walsh Brothers, Campbell Conroy Hickey Partnership Architects, as well as Hendrick Ryan Associates and McCarrick Wood, and added them to the householders' actions.

Last year, the High Court said in respect of the claims against the two engineering firms, the sides would have to enter into an arbitration process. The whole matter was a bogey that spoiled what was an otherwise good round.


Tweets rarely fly under radar

Twitter can be a dangerous weapon. Tim Mason, the former chief of Tesco's loss-making US arm Fresh and Easy, knows it can be an impactful media too.

The 'London Telegraph's' eagle-eyed City Diary spotted that Mason broke a 15-month silence on Twitter with three apparently anti-Tesco tweets in as many days this week. Mason left the supermarket chain in 2012 following 30 years' service. The first of his tweets linked to an article pointing out how Tesco's chief executive Philip Clarke is facing a "crucial stand" after full-year profits at the world's third biggest retailer fell 6pc.

Next he tweeted a link to a story about how the grocer's investors believe Clarke could be up for the chopping block very soon.

Finally, he posted a tip from marketing expert Jim Stengel that said: "Virtually every turnaround starts with a deep dive into what the brand is about."

The tweets now appear to have been taken down. Remember, tweeters: the world is watching.

Irish Independent

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