A privately owned international property group, Grosvenor Group has made its first investment commitment to sub-Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and the Ivory Coast, worth $30million (£20.6m) .
Grosvenor has committed the fund to a $200million RMB Westport Real Estate Development Fund II, through the Group’s Indirect Investment team, whose remit is to enable Grosvenor to access investment opportunities with third-party managers with specialist expertise that complements those of the Group’s Operating Companies.
To date, the Indirect Investment team has committed £150m with a variety of specialist third-party managers internationally. This includes: IO Asset Management in the UK; High Street Equity in the USA; Kefren Capital Real Estate in Spain; and Propertylink in Australia, which acquired 320 Pitt Street, an office tower in Sydney, for AUS$200m earlier this year. As at 31 December 2014, the Group had total assets under management of £11.4bn.
RMB Westport is a real estate investment management and development firm, focused on creating real estate developments to international standards in sub-Saharan African cities. Grosvenor’s investment is in RMB Westport’s second fund, which will develop a combination of shopping centres, office buildings and industrial assets, targeting primarily Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and the Ivory Coast. The total capital raised in the initial close for Fund II is over $200m.
Chief Executive of the Grosvenor Group, Mark Preston, said:“This investment reflects our ambition to continue to diversify the Grosvenor Group. We have been keeping abreast of the opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa for some time and think that now is the right time to start investing in the region. It is a significant step for Grosvenor and I hope that we will increase our investment in the region over the long-term.”
Chris Taite, Grosvenor Group Investment Director, added: “The investment in RMB Westport is a unique opportunity for Grosvenor to gain exposure to a growing market in a region that lacks high-grade office, retail and industrial space. RMB Westport’s city-focused approach is aligned with ours and we are confident that the strength of their local knowledge and their proven track record in the region will deliver strong risk-adjusted returns for the business.”
Africa has a rapidly growing urban population. According to UN Habitat , around 500 million Africans live in urban centres and there are over 65 African cities with a population of more than a million people. However the developing consumer market is underprovided for, meaning that there are opportunities in the region for investment growth and strong investment returns.
Grosvenor is active in some of the world’s most dynamic cities. We create high-quality places for people to enjoy and which use resources sustainably.
Grosvenor believes that there is an opportunity for cities to grow in ways that are socially, economically and environmentally resilient in the face of global challenges. Grosvenor’s long-term success in responding to these challenges depends on an imaginative approach to designing individual buildings, our large-scale place making activity, and the expertise of our staff. We strive to bring new ideas to the creation of sustainable cities for future generations, while encouraging other city stakeholders to play their part.
“ We aim to grow our understanding and knowledge of cities and the challenges and opportunities facing them, and by doing so to evolve our ‘Living cities’ philosophy. Our legacy will be the measure of our success as city stewards and creators of long-term value.”