Monday 23 March 2020 12:31 pm

Blackstone buys Clearbell Capital's £120m logistics portfolio

Private equity firm Blackstone has bought 22 logistics sites from Clearbell Capital as consumers turn to online shopping in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Clearbell Property Partners III, a fund managed by private real estate fund manager Clearbell Capital, has sold its industrials and logistics portfolio for £120m.

Read more: Blackstone to buy UK student housing group IQ from Goldman Sachs for £4.7bn

The portfolio comprises of 22 small to medium-sized industrial and logistics assets located throughout the UK.

The portfolio, which totals over 2m sq ft, primarily includes warehouses and logistics sites in suburban, last-mile locations.

It comes as part of Blackstone’s broader strategy to invest in logistics assets. Last September the private equity firm launched pan-European last mile logistics real estate company, Mileway. It owns 1300 assets totalling more than 11m square meters.

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At the time James Seppala, head of Blackstone Real Estate Europe, said it is a “natural evolution of our European logistics strategy, which is one of our highest conviction, long-term investment themes.”

Rob West, partner at Clearbell Capital, said: “This deal demonstrates the resilience of the industrial and logistics sector. Despite uncertainty around Covid-19, we’re unlikely to see appetite for warehouses and logistics sites wane in the medium to long term.”

The rapid spread of coronavirus has forced retailers to shut their doors as social distancing measures force people online. Last week, Amazon announced a hiring spree in a bid to recruit an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US to cope with a surge in demand.

Read more: Police on standby to help supermarkets in London lockdown

In the UK, online supermarket Ocado reported a jump in sales as demand for home delivery soars amid the coronavirus crisis.

The grocer was forced to close its website and app until last Saturday while it attempted to make its delivery slot allocation fairer and easier for older and more vulnerable people. All delivery slots were booked up for the next few days. 

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