AustralianSuper is making its first direct investment in the London property market, having agreed to buy a quarter of the 67-acre city-centre King’s Cross development.
The pension scheme – one of the biggest superannuation funds in Australia, with AUD84bn (€60bn) in assets under management – will take a 25% stake in the King’s Cross Central Ltd Partnership (KCCLP), parties in the deal said.
Jack McGougan, head of property at AustralianSuper, said: “The King’s Cross development represents a significant opportunity to invest in a world-class mixed-use estate.”
The investment underlined that the pension fund was committed to following its strategy of buying core assets in major international cities “with trusted and experienced local partners”, he said.
The Australian fund will join the existing investor groups in the partnership, which are the Argent King’s Cross Limited Partnership, UK government-owned property company London & Continental Railways and logistics firm DHL.
The Argent King’s Cross Limited Partnership is backed by property developer Argent and Hermes Investment Management.
The Australian scheme is reported to be paying £200m (€278m) for the stake, but a spokeswoman for the parties declined to comment on the value of the deal or on which of the investors was selling to the newcomer.
AustralianSuper’s property portfolio has just over AUD5bn in assets, and the fund has said it plans to increase this over the next few years.
The chairman of KCCLP David Clementi said AustralianSuper was a like-minded investor, and that its entry into the ownership circle would cement the development’s long-term ownership structure.
The King’s Cross deal will be AustralianSuper’s first direct London investment and the fund’s second in the UK, though it is still subject EU clearance, the parties said.
In the deal, the KCCLP was represented by Rothschild and GM Real Estate.
Meanwhile, AustralianSuper was advised by its UK appointed mandate manager, TIAA Henderson Real Estate.
The King’s Cross site includes around 8m square feet of offices, homes, hotels, shops, restaurants and leisure facilities, along with a university, galleries, schools, music venues and community facilities.
The whole site is to remain as a single entity, managed as one estate, with Argent as developer and asset manager.
In December 2013, AustralianSuper bought 50% of the Centre:mk regional shopping centre in Milton Keynes in the UK, with Hermes Investment Management owning the other half and asset managing the centre on behalf of both owners.