ASI buys £5bn property fund manager in growth push

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ASI buys £5bn property fund manager in growth push

Aberdeen Standard Investments has bought a majority stake in a property fund manager as the group’s new chief executive pushes forward with his growth strategy.

ASI it to acquire 60 per cent of Tritax Management, a specialist logistics real estate fund manager with assets under management of £5.1bn throughout the UK and Europe.

The move signals a step change for ASI as it looks to provide “deep sector specialism” for its clients. According to ASI, Tritax would further develop its property business and ensure it was “future fit” for the long-term structural change facing the real estate market.

Stephen Bird, chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “Our growth strategy is built around our clients’ needs and there’s no doubt that our strong capability in private markets, particularly real estate, will be a differentiator for our business. 

“The transaction with Tritax is a compelling strategic fit for our business - it significantly enhances our already strong real estate franchise, in an area of the market which benefits from accelerating trends. It’s a great outcome for us, Tritax and our respective clients.”

Tritax specialises in the logistics sector, such as large warehouses occupied by major online retailers, and manages two listed industrial logistics funds: Tritax Big Box REIT and Tritax EuroBox.

According to Tritax, the logistics sector represents the intersection of real estate and advanced technology, such as robotics and AI.

It said the long-term structural changes across the sector — such as the shift to online shopping, the importance of delivery capabilities and technological developments — continued to strengthen ongoing investment into this space.

Once the acquisition completes, Tritax’s management will lead the ASI Real Estate Global Logistics team and report to ASI’s Neil Slater, global head of real estate.

ASI will initially acquire 60 per cent of Tritax and the deal is expected to close in early 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

Mr Slater said: “Logistics is, and will remain, one of the most attractive income and capital growth sectors within real estate over the long term. 

“The ongoing impact of technological developments, the effect on supply chain management and, ultimately, the increasing customer demand for control over the delivery of goods and services makes this transaction a scalable and exciting opportunity.”

He added that the transaction “reiterated” ASI’s commitment to evolve its real estate offering and to develop with changing industry dynamics and client needs.  

Henry Franklin, chief operating officer at Tritax Management, said the deal was a “significant milestone” for Tritax and that ASI’s expertise and global reach would complement its industrial logistics focus.