Logistics property investor and developer Verdion has entered into an agreement with the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) for the funding and development of logistics parks in Europe.
In its new partnership, HOOPP and Verdion will work together exclusively for logistics development throughout Europe, building a portfolio with a value of over EUR1bn over the next five years.
HOOPP is one of the largest defined benefit pension plans in Canada, with 274,858 active members and pensioners and USD47.4bn in assets available for pensions.
Verdion, formerly Helios Europe, was established in January 2010 by chief executive Michael Hughes, with the backing of Mansford Real Estate. The company has since become a leading force in the European logistics sector, with a specialist focus on e-tailing. As a result of the new funding agreement, Mansford has been bought out of the company and Verdion will now be fully owned and controlled by Hughes, together with his fellow directors.
With immediate effect, the new partnership will own and develop iPort, the six million sq ft, (557,400 sq m) rail logistics project in Doncaster UK, which has an end value of GBP400m. HOOPP will also acquire a stake in Verdion’s Link Project in Germany comprising three logistics schemes located in Berlin, Leipzig and Ingolstadt, totalling over 3,767,491 sq ft (350,000 sq m) with an end value of EUR250m.
The partnership has already invested together, developing a 1,184,069 sq ft (110,000 sq m) logistics scheme in Hanover, 643,920 sq ft (59,821 sq m) of which is pre-let to Netrada, one of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms, specialising in high-end luxury goods.
HOOPP and Verdion are also about to commit to another major warehouse development in Germany, pre-let to an international, household name retailer.
Hughes says: “HOOPP is the absolute ideal long term partner for our company. They already heavily invest in the industrial and logistics sector in North America and have been looking for a suitable partner to expand their exposure to the UK/European logistics market for some time. With over USD5bn invested in real estate, managed by a highly entrepreneurial Toronto based property team, their backing is a massive endorsement to our business and allows us to take a big step forward in this market place.”
“The new partnership enables us to enlarge our development team and offer an enhanced service to our clients, The HOOPP Real Estate team is very entrepreneurial, highly respected and operated to the highest international professional standards. Our clients will benefit in occupancy by having HOOPP as their investor owners, HOOPP taking a long term ownership perspective and seeking a long term relationship with their tenant clients.”
Michael Catford, vice president, real estate at HOOPP, says: “This is a great opportunity for HOOPP to partner with an experienced developer to create a pipeline of logistics facilities in the UK and Europe and builds upon our extensive experience and investments in the industrial sector across Canada. It will also be a meaningful step in expanding HOOPP’s real estate presence in Europe which now includes direct investments in shopping centres in the UK and the Czech Republic, our co-venture with the Crown Estate in St James’s and a number of co-mingled fund investments.”
Cushman & Wakefield Corporate Finance advised HOOPP and Verdion was represented by de Morgan & Co and Lakestar Capital.