Gulf investors led by Arlington Investors completed a £270m acquisition of the former Opal portfolio, comprising eight student accommodation sites in UK. The transaction is a 50/50 equity partnership with Campus Living Villages (CLV), one of the world’s leading operators of student accommodation.
This acquisition is the first transaction of Arlington Investors, an investment company, based in London, established in 2013, with a primary focus on UK property and represents major family offices from the Middle East.
The transaction is funded through a £210m listed bond with a 50-year maturity, which has been fully subscribed by a leading UK insurance company.
The investment comprises eight student accommodation sites in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Newport and Nottingham. The investors are advised by Arlington Advisors whose founder and Chief Executive is George Shweiry. He has in excess of 20 years’ experience advising on and managing investments on behalf of Middle East investors.
There has been an increased interest from global institutional investors in UK student accommodation who see the sector as an attractive alternative asset class. Industry analysts estimate that there is in excess of £6bn of capital allocated to the sector with transaction levels in 2012 and 2013 consistently over £2bn per annum.
Commenting on the transaction, George Shweiry said, “The dynamics of the UK student housing sector present a compelling story, where we are seeing a shortage of good quality stock, falling development pipeline and a growing demand. Taken in the context of what is happening around the world in emerging markets, we expect to see a significant increase in international student mobility which is only going to drive up demand further.”
“Arlington Investors are a significant new force in UK property investment and with this transaction we are demonstrating the scale and scope of our ambition.”
Arlington and CLV’s advisors include international law firms Osborne Clarke, led by partner Chris Wade and McGuireWoods led by partner Hed Amitai; financial advisor DWPF, Grant Thornton, corporate finance company, Traderisks, Knight Frank and Savills.
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