Hibernia raising €350m for Irish property spree

PROPERTY investment group Hibernia yesterday revealed plans to float in London and Dublin to raise €350m (£291.4m), which it aims to spend on the recovering real estate market in the Irish capital.

Hibernia will be managed by Kevin Nowlan, who previously looked after assets for Nama, Ireland’s so-called bad bank that is dealing with distressed assets from the financial crisis.

He is joined by his father William, along with property veterans Frank Kenny and Frank O’Neill. The team will manage the fund through Nowlan Property REIT Management.

Hibernia hopes to create a portfolio of “attractively located, primarily institutional quality, income-producing properties in Ireland, mainly in the commercial space and in the greater Dublin area”.

The firm has already secured several cornerstone investors, who will take €124.5m in the placing, while the management team are putting in €3.5m.

Ireland recently changed the law to allow real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the country, which saw commercial real estate values slump 65 per cent when the credit-fuelled property bubble burst in 2007-08.

“Dublin is a highly attractive place to do business and with the Irish economy improving, demand for commercial space is set to rise,” the younger Nowlan said. “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.”

The firm expects trading in its shares to begin in early December. Credit Suisse is running the UK float while Goodbody is handling the Irish side.