MANAMA: GFH Financial Group yesterday announced that its UK subsidiary, Roebuck Asset Management, has concluded an off-market sale of a Tesco Distribution Centre netting in excess of $135 million.

The 540,000sqft temperature controlled centre was originally developed by Tesco in 2010.

The warehouse serves in more than 400 supermarkets and convenience stores across the South West of England and South Wales forming a crucial part of retail giant Tesco’s distribution network.

The sale marks the end of an extremely successful hold period for Roebuck, who acquired the asset for $94m in October 2017 on behalf of a consortium of institutional Korean investors.

The robust income and significant value increase provided the investors with a post-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of more than 16 per cent, well in advance of the target business plan for such a core asset.

The asset was the second acquisition Roebuck made with South Korean investors and also with Capstone Asset Management.

The sale of Tesco Avonmouth follows Roebuck’s 2021 sale of the Accolade Wines, Avonmouth Warehouse for $123m to Tritax Big Box REIT.

Roebuck’s managing partner Hugh Brown said the firm is “actively pursuing opportunities to recycle capital from these sales for either UK and European logistics assets”.

GFH acquired a majority stake in Roebuck, which continues to operate independently, in December 2020 including its investments in these strategic assets.

Since GFH’s acquisition, Roebuck has significantly grown in terms of team members and new offices, with more being opened in London and Spain and plans for further office openings over the next 18 months.

With GFH’s backing and support, the intention is to continue to grow assets under management (AUM) and collectively target new acquisitions of around $500m over the course of 2022.

Nael Mustafa, board member at Roebuck Asset Management and co-chief investment officer at GFH, said: “The strategy to sell the Tesco distribution centre is in line with Roebuck’s plans to continue to build on its already very strong track record.

“While divesting from these assets reduces the immediate AUM, the pipeline identified and secured across Europe will result in a net gain over the course of 2022.”

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