REAL ESTATE – Hermes, the UK asset manager owned by the BT Pension Scheme, is to sell its 50% stake in the Glaswegian specialist shopping centre Princes Square.
The asking price for the centre, which is co-owned by the insurer Clerical Medical, is in excess of £61.13m (€91.14m), reflecting a net yield of 4.85%. Retailers’ average lease length is eight years.
The 49-unit centre specialises in high-end fashion retail, with two additional floors taken up by restaurants. The portfolio also comprises an adjacent office block.
Alan Tripp, head of funds at Clerical Medical, said the insurer planned to sell its 50% to balance its portfolio after announcing an overweight position in retail a few years back. It is also selling Light in Leeds – which it jointly owns with the Halifax building society – to "bring the fund back into a neutral weighting".
Institutions, including pension funds, are the most likely buyers for the Princes Square development, although Tripp suggested high net worth investors might bid for it as a trophy asset.
He said the insurer had decided to sell these two properties to free cash for the rest of its retail portfolio.
"We’re ploughing cash into developing the others," he said. "We’ve expanded Princes Square – but not on the same scale as with our other investments."
He said of the Glaswegian centre: "There isn’t another one like it. It has an unusual ambience."