REAL ESTATE – Standard Life Investments has abandoned its long-held caution over the sustainability of Germany’s nascent economic recovery and has made its first investments in the market. The fund manager announced last week that it had paid €17m for a single-let logistics warehouse in Neuss and €15m for a multi-let industrial estate in Ratingen, both in the Düsseldorf area.
Standard Life made the acquisitions for its European Property Growth fund, which has attracted Interest from European pension funds – notably in the UK and Iceland – and Korean institutional investors, according to fund manager Will Fulton.
"Pension funds are more attracted to property – and European property in particular," he said.
"We’ve been studying the German market for a long time. Now the economy is genuinely improving. Pricing, together with economic strength, makes it the ideal moment to invest," said Fulton.
The appeal of Neuss, which lies close to Düsseldorf, is its proximity to a major conurbation and the fact that it is located in a region, North Rhine-Westphalia, that Fulton describes as "economically similar to the whole of the Netherlands. It’s a powerful area."
In a separate deal, Standard Life paid €13.2m for a retail warehouse in Brno, the Czech Republic’s second city. The acquisition represents a yield of 6.91%.
In that market, "stronger consumption will lead to stronger rents and better value," said Fulton.