AXA buys UK property portfolio

The French insurance group’s private equity real estate unit has acquired a portfolio of three London properties via its dedicated E100m fund launched last year.

AXA REIM Private Equity, a partnership managed by AXA Real Estate Investment Managers, has completed the purchase of a group of London properties which will form part of the expanding portfolio of AXA REPE, a private equity fund that has up to E300m, after gearing, to invest in the UK, Continental and Central Europe.

AXA has not disclosed the value of the transaction, although the fund typically makes equity investments of up to E15m per deal, which can be increased further with gearing. Senior debt funding for the transaction was provided by Bank of Scotland.

REPE has made this investment in a joint venture with Urban Solutions, a company controlled by Richard and Harvey Selby of Heritage Group Developments Limited. The site at Greenwich, London, which is presently let to the London Institute and Hyde Housing Association, has planning consent for comprehensive refurbishment to comprise 153 residential apartments.

According to Biren Amin, director at AXA REPE, the fund is ‘very close’ to completing a further two transactions in Europe, which Amin says is providing the fund with considerable opportunities. “We have now made three acquisitions from the AXA REPE fund, including deals in Italy, Germany and the UK. Following completion of our next two transactions, the fund will be 50 per cent invested.”  The fund was raised in 2002, closing at a total of E100m.  

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers describes itself as a specialist in European real estate investment and has circa. E20bn of assets under management. According to Philippe Depoux, managing director of investment strategy at AXA REIM, AXA’s real estate unit contributed about 30 per cent of the whole AXA IM group profits in Europe in 2002.

AXA IM is one of the largest European-based asset managers with approximately E266bn under management. AXA IM employs over 2,100 people and has clients in eleven countries.