The majority of Bouwfonds Investment Management has been sold by Dutch financial services company Rabobank.
The real assets investment arm, which at the end of 2016 managed €5.9bn of real estate and infrastructure assets, was bought by Amsterdam-based CommonWealth Investments, according to Dutch newspaper FD.
The ownership was transferred in November last year, as revealed in notifications by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and by a Bouwfonds IM spokesperson.
The company, which specialises in real estate, communications infrastructure and car parks, will eventually be renamed Primevest.
A website under the name Primevest appeared to be live temporarily but was taken offline after questions posed by FD. Content on the test site mirrored that of Bouwfonds IM.
CommonWealth holds 100% of Primevest shares. It is unclear whether the transfer and name change coincided with a restructuring of the company.
A spokesperson for Bouwfonds IM said she could not give any further information about the transaction until there had been permission from German authorities for the transfer of a number of German funds.
Rabobank and Bouwfonds IM said they would make further announcements after 28 February.
Bouwfonds IM was once part of ABN Amro and was later sold to SNS Reaal and Rabobank. It was at the heart of an extensive property fraud case, codenamed the ‘Klimop case’ by the Dutch ministry of justice and the FIOD, the country’s anti-fraud agency.
In 2015, Rabobank changed the name of its development branch Bouwfonds Ontwikkeling into BPD (Bouwfonds Property Development).
According to several market followers the abbreviation was introduced to shed the name Bouwfonds, FD reported, although the company said it was to make it easier to pronounce for international parties.
The sale of Bouwfonds IM forms part of Rabobank’s ongoing efforts to reduce its balance sheet. The Dutch bank had looked to sale the subsidiary before but held onto it as the Dutch commercial real estate market experienced a recovery in recent years.
Last year, domestic and international investors invested €20bn in Dutch real estate. Prices for the best properties are now considerably higher than during the previous peak in 2007 – although, according to recent figures from CBRE, non-core assets are still priced lower than they were 10 years ago.
CommonWealth Investments had not yet responded to questions from FD.
The Amsterdam company is led by Marc Dreesmann and is said to be managing part of the capital of the founders of V&D, a Dutch chain of department stores created in 1887 and declared bankrupt in December 2015.
In 2014, Rabobank sold the majority of investment company RaboCapital to CommonWealth and pension fund manager PGGM.
This story first appeared in FD and Pensioen Pro, IPE’s sister magazine in the Netherlands.