UK-Based Investment Firm Converts to REIT
Hansteen Holdings, a London-based real estate investment firm, announced its conversion to a real estate investment trust (REIT). The conversion comes at the same time that the firm was accepted to the Official List on the London Stock Exchange this week. “We believe that the Official List is a more appropriate platform for the continued growth of our group and we look forward to the opportunities that this move opens up, by increasing its profile, giving us better access to equity capital from a broader base of potential investors and offering shareholders greater liquidity in the shares,” joint-CEOs Ian Watson and Morgan Jones said in a statement. Watson and Jones founded the group in 2005, investing in commercial properties in Germany and Netherlands, before expanding to Belgium and France. Hansteen began trading on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in November 2005. The AIM is a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange that is typically populated by smaller companies. The move to the London Stock Exchange and converting to a REIT are part of the group’s plan, announced in June, to raise £200m (US $318.5m) to invest in industrial properties in the UK, according to a company prospectus. “We believe the conversion of Hansteen into a REIT will be of significant benefit to the Group and its shareholders by creating a more tax efficient and transparent structure,” the co-CEOs said. As of June 30, Hansteen’s portfolio included 954,000 square meters of property valued at €496.4m (US $731m) and that produces an annual rent roll of €43.1m. The group also owns 117 acres of development land and approximately 142,821 square meters of vacant, non-income producing, but rentable space. Write to Austin Kilgore.