IRELAND – Hibernia REIT will become Ireland's second real estate investment trust (REIT) when it floats on the Irish and London stock exchanges next month.
The newly incorporated property company has announced its intention to list and raise €350m to invest in Irish real estate.
It will become the second ever Irish REIT, following the launch of Green REIT earlier this year.
A new investment management company, Nowlan Property REIT Management, has been created to be the sole investment manager of Hibernia and will build up a portfolio consisting mainly of commercial properties in the greater Dublin area.
The investment management firm will be led by father-and-son team William and Kevin Nowlan, with the former taking on the roles of chairman and investment director, and the latter becoming chief executive.
William and Kevin Nowlan also lead property asset management company WK Nowlan, to which Hibernia will have access.
Kevin Nowlan rejoined WK Nowlan in February having spent three years at Ireland's National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).
Kevin Nowlan's move from Ireland's 'bad bank' to the new venture reflects the changing tide of Ireland's commercial property market, which endured some of the worst capital declines in Europe in recent years.
According to data from IPD, property values began to rise for the first time since the downturn during the third quarter, having already declined by more than 65%.
In a statement, Hibernian said: "Following the substantial fall in commercial property values in Ireland since 2007, the directors believe there will be a significant upward re-pricing of assets over the medium term."
Hibernia could use the €350m – plus approximately 40% in leverage – to acquire assets from NAMA, where Kevin Nowlan worked as a senior portfolio manager, and other banks.
Daniel Kitchen, non-executive chairman of Workspace Group and non-executive director of LXB Retail Properties, will become chairman of Hibernia.
He described the launch of Hibernia REIT as a "significant landmark" for the Irish property sector.
He added: "We are fortunate to have in place an experienced investment management team with a track record of value creation at a time when there is an abundance of opportunities."
The news comes in the same week that Green REIT announced that Niall O'Buachalla, co-founder of Burlington Real Estate, would become COO of the company's investment manager, Green REIT Property Ventures.
Green REIT has already invested in €178m in the Irish property market, including a €128m portfolio from Danske Bank Ireland.