Property investor to raise €350m

A new Ireland-based property investment firm is to raise around €350m from a dual share listing in Dublin and London and begin establishing a portfolio next year.

Hibernia REIT will become the second real estate investment trust to float in Dublin, following Green REIT’s move in the summer.

The company will be led by a management team of former Nama executive Kevin Nowlan and his father, Bill, of property advisory WK Nowlan, as well as US-based Irish property investor, Frank Kenny.

Hibernia’s board also consists of former Irish Nationwide chairman Danny Kitchen, former KPMG Ireland managing partner and current Enterprise Ireland chairman Terence O’Rourke, and Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington.

Shares in Hibernia are expected to begin trading — in both Dublin and London — in early December, with management looking to invest “a significant portion” of the net proceeds from the dual float within 18-24 months of admission.

“The company’s objective is to assemble a portfolio of attractively located, primarily institutional quality, income-producing properties in Ireland; mainly in the commercial space and in the greater Dublin area,” Hibernia said yesterday. It added that it believes “a unique opportunity” exists in Ireland to build such a portfolio “in light of current property values, asset supply and rental outlook”.

REITs manage property portfolios on behalf of shareholders and allow investors access to such assets without having to directly partake in transactions. It has been rumoured that the likes of Nama, pension fund operator the Irish Property Unit Trust, and property investment firm Kennedy Wilson are considering REIT launches here.

Hibernia is targeting total shareholder returns of between 10% and 15% per annum.

“Dublin is a highly attractive place to do business and, with the Irish economy improving, demand for commercial space is set to rise,” said Kevin Nowlan. “We commend the Irish government for moving to introduce REIT structures and look forward to acquiring and actively managing a high quality portfolio of properties.”

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