Liberty Living joins student digs providers seeking London float

 
Kasmira Jefford
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PROPERTY fund manager Brandeaux announced plans yesterday to float its student accommodation arm Liberty Living as it seeks to repay discontented investors who saw their shares suspended from trading last year.

Liberty is the brand of the Dublin-listed student property fund, which was forced to suspend its shares last summer after it was overwhelmed with redemption requests from investors.

The group said listing as a real estate investment trust (Reit), will help increase the liquidity in the company.

The fund, one of the UK’s largest student accommodation providers, runs 42 student residences in 17 UK cities, including London.

Its £1.1bn property portfolio generates around £80m of annual income and is expected to have a net asset value of £809m or 277p per share when it lists.

Liberty’s executive chairman Roger Boyland said the fund has achieved a 99 per cent occupancy rate over the last five years.

“We believe this, combined with our highly scalable operating platform and business model, will support us in delivering on our objective of being a leading UK student accommodation income-oriented Reit,” he said.

Liberty will be the third student housing fund to list in the 12 months after the float of GCP Student Living last year. Empiric Student Property also announced its intention to come to market last month.

All three funds are hoping to exploit a rise in demand for rooms from domestic as well as relatively wealthy overseas students wanting to study in the UK.

BEHIND THE DEAL
ORIEL SECURITIES | ROGER CLARKE

1 Roger Clarke joined Oriel Securities in 2011 as a corporate finance partner after the bank sought to bolster its real estate coverage.

2 He has a number of properties firms on his roster including Capital and Counties, which he advised on its recent £258m placing; and healthcare landlord Assura Group, which Oriel acts as joint broker to.

3 Before joining Oriel, the Exeter graduate was head of real estate corporate finance at Matrix Group. He has held senior roles at ING Real Estate and JP Morgan Cazenove.

Also advising...

Morgan Stanley is acting as joint sponsor, joint bookrunner and joint global coordinator alongside Oriel Securities. Clarke was joined by investment banking partner Mark Young on the deal. Financial PRs Stephanie Highett and Dido Laurimore at FTI Consulting are also advising Liberty Living.

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