Universal-Investment, On Behalf of BVK, Acquires Liffey Valley Shopping Centre

(DUBLIN) - Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK), Germany’s largest pension scheme group, and investment manager Universal-Investment have completed the acquisition of Liffey Valley Shopping Centre and an adjacent seven-hectare parcel of development land.

The acquisition was made for an institutional real estate fund on the platform of Universal-Investment, administered and managed on behalf of BVK. HWBC acted as advisers to the purchasers and as the transaction managers and co-ordinators for all parties on the BVK and Universal-Investment side. This is the latest of a number of acquisitions across Europe by Universal-Investment for BVK.

Liffey Valley was formerly owned by a consortium comprising HSBC Alternative Investments Limited (HAIL), Grosvenor Britain & Ireland and Hines. Hines will continue to act as asset and development manager for the centre following the closing of the sale. 

Liffey Valley is one of Ireland’s most successful and vibrant shopping and leisure destinations with over 100 shops, restaurants, a multiplex cinema and 3,500 parking spaces. The co-owners, over the last three years, have delivered significant improvements to Liffey Valley including the development of the newly completed Western End extension to the centre which is now fully operational and includes a new anchor Penneys Store, six restaurants, a new external façade and an upgraded cinema. As a result of this new development, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre now comprises over 71,000 square metres of retail and leisure space.

In August 2016, planning permission was granted for an additional 22,000 square metres of net retail space together with a mix of other uses. Plans include a transformation of the centre’s civic spaces with the addition of a major new public space equivalent to a typical European-scale Urban Plaza.

Brian Moran, senior managing director with Hines Ireland, said, “Hines, along with the new owners, is looking forward to continuing this work. Liffey Valley is a landmark asset which, in recent years, has offered considerable upside potential, thanks to an improving Irish commercial real estate sector, strong tenant demand and significant development opportunities. Hines is delighted to be involved in continuing growing Liffey Valley’s role as a leading employer and contributor to the local community and wider region for the long term.”

David Yaldron, director, Grosvenor Developments said “Grosvenor has had a 20-year association with Liffey Valley Shopping Centre having been involved since it was first developed and opened in the mid-1990s. We have enjoyed a strong performance from the asset throughout this time and are particularly proud of the developments our investment has delivered recently at the western end of the centre.  We look forward to seeing it continue to thrive under its new ownership.”

Paul Forshaw, managing director and head of Real Estate Fund Management, HSBC Alternative Investments Limited, said, “Since acquisition in 2014, the asset-management initiatives implemented by the ownership consortium have generated both significant enhancements to the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, and very strong performance for our investors. Liffey Valley now plays an increasingly important role in the region, and we expect it to continue to prosper under new management.”

HWBC Managing Director Tony Waters said, “Liffey Valley is one of Ireland's most attractive shopping centre assets and there was considerable international investor interest in this transaction. We believe the fundamentals of the Irish economy and the continuing recovery in Irish consumer confidence will sustain investor interest in 2017, following a busy 2016.”

Alexander Tannenbaum, managing director of Universal-Investment, adds, “Retail properties and offices are the most favored real estate sectors in German institutional investors’ portfolios and provide good diversification and deliver steady returns.”

About Hines
Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm founded in 1957 with a presence in 192 cities in 20 countries. Hines has $93.2 billion of assets under management, including $47.9 billion for which Hines provides fiduciary investment management services, and $45.3 billion for which Hines provides third-party property-level services. The firm has 105 developments currently underway around the world. Historically, Hines has developed, redeveloped or acquired 1,180 properties, totaling over 379 million square feet. The firm's current property and asset management portfolio includes 483 properties, representing over 199 million square feet. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a pioneering commitment to sustainability, Hines is one of the largest and most-respected real estate organizations in the world. Visit www.hines.com for more information.

About Bayerische Versorgungskammer
Bayerische Versorgungskammer is the competence and service centre for occupational and communal pension schemes and Germany´s largest pension scheme group under public law. It is the joint executive body of 12 liberal professions´ and communal pension schemes. Bayerische Versorgungskammer covers about 2 million insured persons in total, with contributions of €4 billion and €2.9 billion pension payments annually. It currently has €65 billion assets under management and 1,200 employees. Visit www.versorgungskammer.de for more information.

About Universal-Investment
Universal-Investment is the largest independent investment company in German-spoken Europe with fund assets in excess of about EUR 283 billion under administration, thereof EUR 237 billion in own vehicles, over 1,000 funds and investment mandates and a workforce of around 650. The focus lies on the efficient and transparent administration of funds, securities, real estate and alternative asset classes. The company is headquartered in Frankfurt/Main and has subsidiaries and holdings in Luxemburg and Austria. As pioneer of the investment industry Universal-Investment is now market leader in the areas of master-KVG and private label funds. Members of the management board are Oliver Harth (deputy spokesman), Markus Neubauer, Stefan Rockel, Alexander Tannenbaum and Bernd Vorbeck (spokesman of the management board). (As per 30 November 2016) Visit today manages and advises on 16.8bn of client assets. HAIL is a limited company registered in England and Wales and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

About Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland creates and manages high-quality neighbourhoods across the UK and Ireland. The company’s diverse property development, management and investment portfolio includes Grosvenor’s London estate, comprising 300 acres of Mayfair and Belgravia, in which it has a £1bn planned investment programme. Other developments include elsewhere in London and Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Southampton. As at 31 December 2015, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland had £5.7bn of assets under management. www.grosvenor.com

Advisers
HWBC acted on the purchase for BVK/Universal and Eastdil acted for HAIL/Hines and Grosvenor.