Admiral House Newport sold to institutional RE investor for £20m

Opportunity attracted substantial funds looking to the regions

30 October 2014

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Admiral Group's newly constructed primary office building in Newport has been sold to leading global Real Estate Investment Trust, W. P. Carey Inc for approximately £20m. The 83,000 sq ft office building, which is let to Admiral Group for 20 years, is part of Scarborough Group International's redevelopment of the former Cambrian Centre opposite the newly developed railway station. Cooke & Arkwright acted as joint agents on behalf of Scarborough in the deal.

Jennifer Lucas, Executive Director of W. P. Carey commented, “The transaction with Scarborough Group is consistent with our investment strategy of acquiring critical assets leased on a long term basis to strong credit tenants and demonstrates our ability to provide liquidity to developers and owners of attractive net-leased assets. Admiral is a well-capitalised business with a long-term commitment to the facility and we are delighted to add the company to our tenant portfolio. Given the UK's status as the second largest European economy with good growth forecasts, we are pleased to add another UK asset to our holdings.”

Mark Jackson, Director of Scarborough Group International said, “We are pleased to complete this transaction with W. P. Carey. Their capital resources, experience in the European net-lease investment market and their strategy of acquiring long-term net-leased assets made them an ideal purchaser for this asset.”

Huw Llewellyn, Head of Property and Facilities Management for Admiral Group said, “We are delighted to have secured this 20 year lease of our new office building in Newport and look forward to working with W. P. Carey as our landlord and long-term partner.

Graham Davies of Cooke & Arkwright commented, “This investment opportunity attracted substantial funds which have been actively looking to the regions after years of concentrating on the London-centric south-east. At a yield of 6.43% this is a really good example of strong institutional private and property company interest and is a further example of Newport's improving profile. We are delighted to have sold this prime asset with a strong-credit tenant on behalf of Scarborough to a leading global investor.”

Admiral House was completed in May 2014 and houses more than 500 Admiral employees. It is part of a major redevelopment of the surrounding area which has already attracted £230m of private investments into the city. Other developments currently under way in Newport include the 389,976 sq ft Friars Walk retail and leisure scheme in the heart of the city and a 4,000 delegate Convention Centre is being planned at the Celtic Manor Resort, which played host to the 2014 NATO Summit in September.

Cooke & Arkwright have been providing rating valuation advice to The Welsh Rugby Union Limited (“WRU”) and Millennium Stadium plc for many years. They were recently successful in achieving substantial reductions in the assessments of the Millennium Stadium, covering both the 2005 and 2010 rating list. These negotiated reductions yielded savings of c.£3.5m which, crucially, allows the WRU to re-invest in rugby throughout Wales. They advise the WRU across the group portfolio including the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan. The valuation issues across the WRU portfolio are complex requiring a high level of understanding of the funding and finances of professional sport in Wales. Cooke & Arkwright’s experience and understanding of these issues and application to the rating valuation have yielded these substantial negotiated reductions. The WRU and the Millennium Stadium entrust our work to organisations with the required levels in experience and expertise in dealing with these complex issues. I am glad to say we have this expertise in Wales. I would have no hesitation in recommending ratepayers making use of this Welsh based expertise.

Steve Phillips, Group Finance Director, Welsh Rugby Union Group