Benson Elliot Capital Management
November 13, 2012 Benson Elliot Strengthens Retail Team with Appointment of Peter Cornforth Benson Elliot Capital Management, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, announces that it has appointed Peter Cornforth as Director of Retail Operations.

With over 25 years of experience as a manager, operating partner and consultant in the real estate investment industry, Peter has directed the acquisition, refurbishment, leasing and disposition of major retail schemes across the UK. Peter is particularly accomplished in repositioning centres in response to emerging retail trends and evolving consumer preferences, both of which are increasingly driving local market dynamics.

One of Peter’s key roles will be to lead the asset management and repositioning of the Arcadia retail portfolio in Ealing, London, upon its completion, working alongside Benson Elliot Partner and UK Head Phil Irons. Benson Elliot recently exchanged contracts to acquire the Arcadia assets from Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

Peter is a Chartered Surveyor, MRICS qualified, and holds a BSc in Land Management from Reading University.

Trish Barrigan, Senior Partner at Benson Elliot, said: “Peter has extensive retail experience and a proven track record in the sector. His appointment underlines our commitment to recruiting highly skilled individuals to support our growth and deepen our internal expertise. Success in defining and executing operational strategies will be decisive in delivering superior investment performance during the coming years and, in that regard, we expect Peter to make a significant contribution to the Benson Elliot team.”

view more

October 29, 2012 Benson Elliot Acquires Arcadia Site in London’s Ealing Town Centre Benson Elliot Capital Management (”Benson Elliot”), the UK-based private equity real estate investor, announces that it has exchanged contracts with Malcolm Shierson and Martin Ellis of Grant Thornton acting as Joint Administrator of Glenkerrin (UK) Limited and Joint LPA receiver over the assets of The Broadway Partnership for the acquisition of the Arcadia Site, the major part of a 2.8-acre island-block in Ealing town centre, West London.

The site, which comprises the Arcadia shopping centre and a number of adjacent high street retail units, dominates the heart of Ealing’s Broadway retail pitch. On completion of the transaction, Benson Elliot plans to undertake a phased redevelopment, details of which will be provided in due course.

Phil Irons, Partner at Benson Elliot, said: “This is a great opportunity to revitalise a key part of Ealing’s town centre and we look forward to working with Ealing Council and the local community to realise its potential.”

Malcolm Shierson of Grant Thornton, added: “This is a strategically important site for Ealing and we are pleased to have found a purchaser whose aspirations for the asset are aligned with its potential.”

London & Associated Properties and GCW advised Grant Thornton in the transaction, whilst Strutt & Parker advised Benson Elliot.

 

About the Arcadia Site

The site was assembled between 2006 and 2008 by Glenkerrin, an Irish developer. They planned to develop a c.1,000,000 sq ft mixed retail and residential scheme; whilst Glenkerrin’s proposals for regeneration gained the backing of LB Ealing, at a subsequent public Inquiry their scale and height were considered not to be in keeping with the adjoining Conservation Area. In 2011, Glenkerrin was declared insolvent, resulting in all company assets being transferred to the National Asset Management Agency (“NAMA”).

Benson Elliot’s redevelopment and upgrade plans will contribute towards the regeneration of Ealing town centre, reinforcing it as one of London’s most prosperous and well-connected areas. Furthermore, the £18 billion Crossrail project currently underway will also significantly improve the area’s accessibility, reducing commuting times to central London by up to 50% from 2018.

Benson Elliot founder Marc Mogull has led the funding of urban regeneration projects across Europe during the past twenty years, and is the UK Chairman of the Urban Land Institute, the pre-eminent global land-use organisation. The Arcadia Site transaction represents the fifth investment for the €500 million Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III fund.

view more

July 27, 2012 Benson Elliot Completes Berlin Residential Sale to Akelius Akelius Berlin GmbH, the German subsidiary of Sweden-based Akelius Fastigheter AB, and Benson Elliot Capital Management (”Benson Elliot”), the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, announce the closing of a Berlin residential transaction. The assets were part of the Silvertower multi-family residential property portfolio which Benson Elliot acquired in September 2010 for €36.7 million in a joint venture with Hirling Capital Investment Services GmbH.

Through this transaction, Benson Elliot has sold c. 50% of the 720 units in the portfolio, for a consideration significantly above acquisition price. The disposal was made upon the successful completion of a number of asset management initiatives, which resulted in a reduced vacancy rate, increased income and a stabilisation of the assets.

Akelius owns 13,300 residential units in Germany with 6,800 located in Berlin. The growth in 2011 and 2012 has been significant with Akelius acquiring 1,900 residential units in Berlin and another 2,200 residential units in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Frankfurt.

Joseph De Leo, Senior Partner at Benson Elliot, commented: “This sale demonstrates our ability to source opportunities, manage investments and successfully exit transactions to create value for our investors, notwithstanding the on-going challenges in the European real estate market. We continue to believe that the German residential sector offers attractive investment opportunities, and are closely monitoring the market to take advantage of the right deals when they become available.”

Pär Hakeman, CEO Akelius Germany, commented: “We are very happy to close another transaction in a strong developing area in Berlin. As a long term investor we see very good opportunities to continue to develop the properties and to raise further potentials with our own management team.”

 

About Akelius 

Akelius GmbH is Sweden´s biggest privately-owned housing provider. Akelius owns and manages 35,000 apartments in Sweden, Germany, UK and Canada. The market value of the property portfolio is €3.7 billion, the turnover €290 million and 200 employees. The German portfolio contains 13,300 apartments. It is managed by 60 employees spread over five offices. The company´s ambition is to double in size over the next seven years.

view more

June 1, 2012 Benson Elliot Reopens the Sophia Country Club Hotel Following Investment of c.€25 m Re-launch of landmark resort in the French Riviera as a business, leisure and sport venue.

Benson Elliot Capital Management, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, announces that the Sophia Country Club will officially reopen on 1 June 2012, following an extensive refurbishment. The hotel complex offers significantly enhanced facilities, including 155 modern rooms, 900 sqm of conference space with capacity for up to 450 delegates, a revamped restaurant and leisure facilities including a state-of-the-art spa centre, a 20-court tennis academy and a golf academy.

The Sophia Country Club is a landmark corporate and leisure hotel in the French Riviera, located in the heart of the French ‘Silicon Valley’, within the Sophia-Antipolis business park, which employs 30,000 people across 1 million sqm of office space. It benefits from unrivalled facilities and excellent connectivity, with a journey time of less than 15 minutes to Nice international airport and to the Cannes seafront.

Benson Elliot acquired the Sophia Country Club in an off-market transaction from a French family office in November 2011, on behalf of Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III. The hotel, originally branded as a Pullman hotel in the early 2000’s, had suffered from a lack of capital investment for many years and, alongside TIA asset management, a specialist in hotel turnaround, Benson Elliot has invested significantly in completing a comprehensive, six month refurbishment of the entire hotel complex. The hotel’s improved offering is designed to be attractive to corporates as well as fully embracing the requirements of leisure and sports travellers.

Marc-Olivier Assouline, Head of Hotel Investment for Benson Elliot, said: “The Sophia Country Club reflects Benson Elliot’s ambition in the hotel sector in Europe: targeting hotels with turnaround potential in locations with significant corporate and leisure demand. Through this refurbishment we have created an exciting destination resort that will be even more attractive to its historic core market of corporate guests, while broadening its appeal to the leisure and sports market. We have already attracted a number of European teams in preparation for the 2012 Olympics, and we expect this type of business to increase following June’s official opening.”

Trish Barrigan, Senior Partner at Benson Elliot, said: “The global recession and subsequent property market decline have created the opportunity to buy hotels at meaningful discounts to replacement cost at or near the bottom of the operational cycle, which is exemplified by this transaction. We’re actively looking at similar opportunities that represent good value today, and where there is also scope to add value through targeted capex investment and proactive asset management strategies, building on our track record in this area.”

Sophia Country Club website: http://www.sophiacountryclub.com.

view more

April 12, 2012 Benson Elliot and Générale Continentale Investissements Exit Over €150m of Prime Paris Offices Fully occupied buildings from Opéra portfolio sold to fund manager and pension fund.

Leading private equity real estate firm Benson Elliot Capital Management and Générale Continentale Investissements (“GCI”) announce the sale of Olympique and Opéra Italiens, after successfully completing value-add business plans on both assets.

Olympique is a modern office building located in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris. It offers 10,647 sqm of high quality office space, 88 parking spaces and an inter-company restaurant. Opéra Italiens, the flagship property of the Opéra portfolio, located in Paris’ 9th Arrondissement, was once the headquarters of French daily Le Monde and today is home to France’s Ministère de la Justice. The building is spread over 7,375 sqm of lettable office space and benefits from 78 parking spaces.

Rémi Monglon, Principal and head of Investment in France at Benson Elliot, said: “In the context of current market uncertainty, the sale of these buildings demonstrates that core product remains resilient and highly liquid. Creating core has been our strategy over the past few years and will remain our focus going forward.”

The sales follow a number of successful asset management initiatives including long term lease extensions on both buildings. At Olympique, a new nine year lease with Editis, one of France’s leading publishing companies, was recently signed, taking the building to full occupancy; at Opéra Italiens, the partners last year concluded a six year firm period with the Ministère de la Justice.

Sharon Raingold, managing director at GCI, said: “We are pleased that our knowledge of the French market and tenants’ needs, as well as our strong relationships with them, allowed us to complete our asset management strategies on both properties and achieve two successful exits.”

Benson Elliot and GCI were advised by BNP Paribas Real Estate, Cushman & Wakefield, L’Etude des Notaires du Quai Voltaire and Cabinet Gide.

 

About Générale Continentale Investissements

Générale Continentale Investissements (GCI) was created in 1975 has become one of the leaders in commercial real estate investment and development in France. GCI has always chosen top quality partners and has been involved in investments totalling over €2.5 billion and amounting to more than 1 million sqm of top quality office and other commercial property space in the main business districts of Paris, the greater Paris region and other major French cities. In the centre of Paris, these investments have incorporated prime renovation and reconstruction schemes, as well as new developments. Tenants include major national and international companies, and the French Administration.

view more

March 23, 2012 Benson Elliot to Acquire 80 Property German Residential Portfolio Landmark transaction follows €187 million CMBS loan default.

Benson Elliot Capital Management, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, has exchanged contracts with a number of subsidiaries of Speymill Deutsche Immobilien Company PLC (SDIC), to acquire the TOR residential portfolio on behalf of Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III. The transaction involves the acquisition out of receivership of over 3,000 residential units and ancillary commercial units, in 80 properties in Germany. Debt funding for the transaction has been secured from Landesbank Berlin.

Trish Barrigan, Benson Elliot Senior Partner, said: “We’re at the beginning of a long, slow unwind of a period in which property portfolios were hurriedly assembled and aggressively financed. The TOR portfolio may be one of the first defaulted CMBS portfolio loans to be resolved – it certainly won’t be the last. These are complex transactions, requiring a breadth of property, financial structuring, tax and other skills. We wouldn’t have reached the finish line without a commitment from all parties – Ernst & Young, Hatfield Philips, Benson Elliot, Landesbank Berlin and our joint-venture partners Wertgrund Immobilien – to make it happen.”

The TOR portfolio assets are located in prime metropolitan areas, with three quarters of the properties situated in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne. The largest concentration – over 60% of the portfolio – is situated in the capital, Berlin. The properties range from individual buildings to residential complexes, comprising a total area of just over 230,000 sqm. Portfolio occupancy at year-end 2011 was 91%.

Philipp Braschel, Benson Elliot Principal and Head of Investment in Germany, said: “Good quality residential properties in Berlin and other strong and growing German cities are among the most sought-after real estate assets in Europe today. Valuations remain well below new-build costs, there’s limited new construction and occupational demand is strong. Investors are being drawn to the sector’s stable cash flows and perceived inflation-hedging attributes. The TOR acquisition follows our 2010 acquisition of the 700-unit Silvertower residential portfolio in Berlin, where we’ve seen strong income and capital growth. We believe this most recent acquisition has similar growth potential, and look forward to applying our asset management skills in partnership with Wertgrund to unlock value for our investors.”

The TOR portfolio was assembled in 2006 by SDIC, the former AIM-listed residential holding company, through a series of acquisitions. The portfolio was subsequently debt financed through a CMBS loan (the TOR loan), part of the MESDAG (Charlie) B.V. issuance which closed in April 2007. The TOR loan, the largest loan in the securitisation, was transferred to special servicing in November 2010 following a loan payment default. The appointment of receivers over the shares of the borrowers and other SDIC subsidiaries followed shortly thereafter. The portfolio disposition, directed by special servicer Hatfield Philips International Limited and receiver Ernst & Young working in conjunction with the borrowers, represents one of the first enforced sales of a defaulted CMBS loan in Germany. The principal balance of the TOR loan was €187 million as at year-end 2011.

Benson Elliot was advised on the transaction by Olswang. The special servicer and receiver, Ernst & Young, were advised by Ashurst, Cains, In-West and Ernst & Young Real Estate.

view more

March 2, 2012 Benson Elliot beruft Senior Manager für Deutschland und Großbritannien Die Expansion unterstreicht das Vertrauen in das Geschäftsumfeld und die Investmentchancen.

Benson Elliot Capital Management („Benson Elliot“), eine führende Private Equity Real Estate Firma hat mit Georg Strassner und James Jakeman ihr Führungsteam verstärkt. Der Schwerpunkt von Herrn Strassner und Herrn Jakeman wird auf dem deutsch- bzw. dem englischsprachigen Markt liegen. Die beiden werden die Präsenz von Benson Elliot in diesen strategisch bedeutenden Regionen stärken.

Herr Strassner ist der ehemalige Managing Director und Leiter des Immobiliengeschäfts von Strategic Value Partners in Frankfurt. Er führte dort ein Team von zwölf Immobilienfachleuten, das ein deutsches Immoblienportfolio mit 180 Objekten im Wert von ca. €1,5 Milliarden verwaltet. Zuvor war er Regionaldirektor Süd bei Argoneo, der europäischen Immobilienverwaltungssparte von Morgan Stanley. Zwischen 2003 und 2005 arbeitete Herr Strassner bei Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate mit Marc Mogull, dem Geschäftsführer und Managing Partner von Benson Elliot. Zusammen mit Philipp Braschel wird er die Leitung der deutschsprachigen Aktivitäten von Benson Elliot in Europa übernehmen.

James Jakeman kommt von Societe Generale, wo er der Leiter der Großbritannien-Immobilienabteilung und somit für das Darlehens- und Fremdkapitalinvestmentgeschäft verantwortlich war. Von 2000 bis 2008 war er im Immobilien Investment Team bei Lehman Brothers, wo er Transaktionen in Großbritannien sowie internationale Transaktionen mit einem Gesamtwert von mehr als €2 Milliarden leitete. Dort hatte er zuletzt als executive director eine Führungsrolle. Herr Jakeman begann seine Immobilienkarriere 1995 bei Jones Lang LaSalle. Bei Benson Elliot wird er zusammen mit Phil Irons die Aktivitäten der Firma in Großbritannien führen.

Benson Elliot beschäftigt heute mehr als 2 Dutzend Experten, die die Akquisitionen und die Verwaltung von Immobilien der Firma in Großbritannien, Frankreich, Deutschland, Spanien, Skandinavien und Zentraleuropa durchführen. Die von der Firma verwalteten Fonds haben Anteile an Immobilien in Deutschland im Wert von ca. €1 Milliarde und Immobilien in Großbritannien im Wert von ca. £500 Millionen erworben. Ende 2010 begann die Firma ihren aktuellen Fonds, Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III, zu investieren, welcher auf Investitionen in Europa abzielt.

Trish Barrigan, Senior Partner bei Benson Elliot, erklärte: „Deutschland und Großbritannien sind unsere Hauptmärkte und wir haben unser Team weiter verstärkt, da wir zunehmend mehr Chancen in diesen beiden Ländern sehen. Wir begrüßen diese sehr erfahrenen und hoch angesehenen Fachleute in unserem Team und freuen uns darauf, gemeinsam auf unserem bestehenden Erfolg aufzubauen.”

view more

March 2, 2012 Benson Elliot announces senior appointments in Germany and United Kingdom Expansion underlines confidence in business outlook and market opportunities.

Leading private equity real estate firm, Benson Elliot Capital Management, has made two significant appointments since the New Year, with Georg Strassner and James Jakeman joining the company in senior roles. Strassner and Jakeman will focus on the German-speaking and UK markets respectively, adding to Benson Elliot’s already strong capabilities in these strategically important regions.

Mr. Strassner was previously Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Management at Strategic Value Partners in Frankfurt, where he led a team of twelve real estate professionals responsible for managing a 180-asset, €1.5 billion German property portfolio. Before that, he was Regional Head, South, at Argoneo, the European real estate asset management arm of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing. From 2003 to 2005 Mr Strassner worked alongside Benson Elliot Managing Partner Marc Mogull at Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate. At Benson Elliot he will partner with Philipp Braschel in directing the firm’s activities in German-speaking Europe.

James Jakeman joins from Société Générale where he was the Head of UK Real Estate, responsible for lending and debt investments. From 2000 to 2008 he was an Executive Director on the real estate principal investments team at Lehman Brothers, where he led transactions in the UK and internationally totalling over €2 billion in investment value. Mr. Jakeman began his real estate career in 1995 at Jones Lang LaSalle, where he qualified as a Chartered Surveyor. At Benson Elliot he will work alongside Phil Irons in directing the firm’s UK activities.

Benson Elliot today comprises over two dozen professionals directing the firm’s investment and investment management activities in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Scandinavia and Central Europe. The firm’s managed funds have acquired, or are contracted to acquire, interests in c. €1 billion of property assets in Germany, and c. £500 million (completion value) of property in the UK. The firm began investing its most recent fund, Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III, in late 2010, targeting distressed opportunities across Europe.

Trish Barrigan, Senior Partner at Benson Elliot said: “Germany and the UK are key markets for us and we have strengthened our team because we are seeing an increasing number of opportunities coming from these geographies. We are pleased to welcome these highly experienced and widely respected professionals to our team, and look forward to building on our existing success together.”

view more