Investor eyes Dublin growth

British property developer U+I Group has said it remains committed to Dublin as one of its three core regions and is on the look-out for further opportunities to expand its commercial property portfolio in the city. The company was formerly known as Development Securities.

It recently took control of AIB’s former credit card services centre in Donnybrook, south Dublin, and is now redeveloping an office block on Burlington Road. Its Irish portfolio also includes a mixed-use development in Sandyford and an apartment complex in the city centre.

“We remain committed to Dublin as one of our three core regions, as we see significant opportunities in the [Dublin] market and will continue to build on our work to date with our local partners,” said chief executive Matthew Weiner.

The company yesterday reported an £11.7m (€13.1m) pre-tax loss for the six months to the end of August.

However, it lowered its net debt from over £203m to £128m and saw £11.5m in development and trading gains come in around £8m ahead of guidance.

The group is exploring the idea of creating a specialist platform to meet the growing need for affordable rental housing across the UK, but is not considering such a move in the Irish market as yet.

U+I said it could realise a further £90m to its investment pipeline across Britain and Ireland in the next three years.

Meanwhile, Merrion Stockbrokers has placed a €1.65 share price target on publicly quoted Irish property investment fund Green Reit.

The company is heavily involved in rebuilding work on Dublin’s Dawson Street and owns the Central Park office development in south Dublin; which houses the likes of Vodafone Ireland, Tullow Oil, Salesforce and Ulster Bank.

It was trading at around €1.40 in Dublin, yesterday, up by 1.5% on the previous close; but down by around 12.5% on where it started the year.

Merrion’s Darren McKinley, however, said ECB commentary at its monthly meeting later today could prove a catalyst.

“Green Reit has been under some pressure over the last few months, underperforming as bond yields show signs of basing.

“With the ECB meeting tomorrow, expectations are low but we could see Mario Draghi reiterate that interest rates are likely to stay lower for longer. This could change sentiment toward the Reits,” he said.

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