Benson Elliot eyes UK for new fund

Fund manager Benson Elliot is preparing for a push on UK investments following last week’s EU referendum.

The company’s managing partner, Marc Mogull, said UK property offered “exciting opportunities” as a result of Brexit and that Benson Elliot was likely to make more investments in the country from its pan-European fund.

The fund manager this week closed its €700m (£581.7m) Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners IV fund. With anticipated gearing of around 50%, it will have a total firepower of €1.4bn.

Mogull said: “It is likely that in a period like the one we are in now, with the potential for enormous volatility, we could see pricing swings that create some exciting opportunities.”

He said: “Overnight everything’s got a lot cheaper. To the extent that we see current owners of UK assets looking for an exit and we can strike the kinds of deals that, on a medium- to long-term basis look attractive, we may find ourselves more engaged in the UK. It is definitely an opportune time to have money.”

The 10-year fund has already acquired three properties in the UK: Vicarage Field shopping centre in Barking, E6, the Meadows shopping centre in Chelmsford, Essex, and Guildford business park in Surrey.

It also owns a shopping centre in Bologna, Italy, and offices in Berlin, Germany.

Mogull stressed that it was too early to know which sectors to target in the aftermath of last week’s vote.

“There are certain sectors we are pleased we avoided in the past two or three years, and the obvious two are city offices and London high-end residential. But in terms of where we are going to move, we need to have more clarity on where we see the opportunities rising,” he said.

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