IRELAND – Details of Ireland's first domestic real estate investment trust (REIT) were unveiled the same week as new research by IPD showed the Dublin office market as a "standout" area for investment.
Coming six months after the country's government unveiled proposals for Irish REITs, the fund is set to be managed by Green Property, with Green's chairman and managing director – Stephen Vernon and Pat Gunne, respectively – overseeing Green REIT's future portfolio.
According to a statement, the fund aims to build a portfolio of both freehold and long leasehold commercial properties across Ireland, with its principal focus on the Dublin market.
It stresses that, as the properties will be bought following the fund's launch, none of them will come with any associated legacy issues.
Once fully invested, it expects pre-tax returns of up to 15%.
Green REIT said it would seek a primary listing for ordinary shares on the Irish Stock Exchange, as well as permission to trade on the main market for listed securities on the ISE's London counterpart.
It added that the company was looking to raise more than €200m, and predicted shares would begin trading by 18 July.
The REIT's chairman Gary Kennedy said the fund would be looking to provide stability through its long-term capital.
"Our aim is to utilise the strength and experience of Vernon and his team and their network of relationships to build a portfolio of assets that should deliver a sustainable income stream and, over time, strong capital returns for shareholders," he said.
Alongside Kennedy, currently also chairman of food supplier Greencore Group, four non-executive directors will make up the board.
Thom Wernick, a non-executive director at Atrium European Real Estate and Jerome Kennedy – a former managing partner at KPMG Ireland – have been named as independent directors, while Vernon will also sit on the board.
The launch comes as new IPD figures show the Dublin office market offering the highest returns of any city covered by the provider.
According to the research, jointly conducted with Burlington Real Estate, the Irish capital offers income returns of 10.5% on an annual basis.
However, the return for the year's first quarter fell to 7.2% once capital value declines were accounted for.
The report added: "This high level of income is a significant boon for investors as Dublin competes with other cities for their investment.
"The spread between Dublin and London income returns was 590 basis points, significantly compensating investors for the capital and rental-value falls in the Irish capital through 2012."
Dublin's recovery nevertheless stood in stark contrast to the rest of the country, where total return stood at -3.1% year on year, fuelled by a further 11.8% decline in capital value.
Following the financial crisis, Irish property's capital values declined by more than 65%, while rents fell by half compared with the market's peak.