GLOBAL – The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) is helping to fund the development of a €1bn European logistics portfolio over the next five years through a partnership with Verdion, formerly Helios Europe.
The Canadian pension fund has been building up its direct portfolio in Europe, and the new joint venture will enable it to gain exposure to a sector that is evolving in line with the rise of online retailing.
The partnership has invested in a 110,000 sqm logistics scheme in Hanover, approximately half of which is let to Netrada, an e-commerce platform that specialises in luxury goods.
It will also own and develop iPort, a £400m (€472m) rail logistics project in Doncaster in the UK, while HOOPP will acquire a stake in Verdion's €250m Link Project in Germany, comprising three logistics schemes in Berlin, Leipzig and Ingolstadt.
Verdion was established as Helios Europe in 2010 by Michael Hughes with the backing of Mansford Real Estate.
As a result of the new funding agreement, Mansford has been bought out of the company, and Verdion will be fully owned and controlled by Hughes, together with fellow directors.
"HOOPP is the absolute ideal long-term partner for our company," said Hughes.
"They already heavily invest in the industrial and logistics sector in North America and have been looking for a suitable partner to expand their exposure to the UK/European logistics market for some time.
"With over $5bn invested in real estate, managed by a highly entrepreneurial Toronto-based property team, their backing is a massive endorsement to our business and allows us to take a big step forward in this market."
Michael Catford, vice-president of real estate at HOOPP said: "This is a great opportunity for HOOPP to partner with an experienced developer to create a pipeline of logistics facilities in the UK and Europe, and builds upon our extensive experience and investments in the industrial sector across Canada.
"It will also be a meaningful step in expanding HOOPP's real estate presence in Europe, which now includes direct investments in shopping centres in the UK and the Czech Republic, our co-venture with the Crown Estate in St James's and a number of commingled fund investments."