Cromwell Property Group has been given the green light to list a AUD1.8bn (€1.2bn) portfolio of European real estate assets on Singapore’s stock exchange.
The Australian real estate investment company said it had recieved confirmation that it had eligibility to list its proposed Cromwell European Real Estate Investment Trust (CEREIT).
Any REIT launched will involve the European business that Cromwell acquired in 2015, formerly known as Valad Europe.
Chief executive Paul Weightman said Cromwell was continuning with its “goal of transitioning our European business from one with a predominantly transactional focus to one that has a significant level of recurring income”.
The news comes nine months after Cromwell, through the Valad Europe platform, launched its debut open-ended, core property fund with backing from Denmark’s PFA Pension.
It was announced at the time, in November 2016, that an intial capital raise had enabled the fund to buy a €205m seed portfolio.
However, IPE Real Estate understands that this portfolio was not bought for the fund and is to be transferred to the Singapore-listed REIT upon launch.
Representatives of Cromwell were unable to confirm or deny the move.
CEREIT is expected to own a AUD1.8bn portfolio of office and industrial assets, and has ambitions to grow the portfolio to around AUD3bn.
Weightman also broke his silence on Cromwell’s ongoing ambition to acquire Investa Office Fund (IOF).
He said the comapny continues to evaluate its options after bidding to buy the fund in April.
In an analysts’ call to announce interim results for the 2016-17 financial year, he said Cromwell had three options: “We could sit there and do nothing, sell our stake, or launch a hostile bid”.
Weightman said he had come to the conclusion that a friendly transaction was unlikely, irrespective of the price offered.
“We’ve had the door shut in our face,” he said in response to questions from Folkestone Maxim Asset Management managing director Winston Sammut.
He said Cromwell had approached IOF on a “friendly basis”, and would have liked IOF board approval to negotiate a trust scheme with the listed IOF, but this was clearly unlikely to happen.
“We are continuing to collect distributions from our investment in IOF,” Weightman said, adding that the total return from its IOF holding was 24.3% last financial year. Cromwell holds almost 10% of IOF, acquired in April 2016 for around AUD254m.
IOF board member Jonathan Callaghan told analysts during a results announcement on Thursday that there had been no communication from Cromwell since it was given access to undertake due diligence.