GSA joins Singaporean wealth fund for student rooms deal in UK and Germany
GSA Group, the Dubai student accommodation specialist based in Dubai, has acquired a portfolio of more 4,600 student bedrooms in the UK and Germany, plus a development pipeline of a further 5,000 future bedrooms in two investment deals alongside Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.
The price paid was not disclosed for either deal.
The company announced on Tuesday that the portfolio of more than 1,000 beds, plus a pipeline of 1,500 future beds in properties under development, would go into a joint venture between the pair.
GSA had initially bought the German properties in June this year. They are in major cities including Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Munster and Dresden.
The pair is also targeting developments in other major university cities including Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich.
GSA Group said that Germany is Europe’s biggest student market and offered a “significant opportunity” for the group. It has set an initial target of having 10,000 beds in the market, which it will operate under the Uninest banner that also operates from Dubai Academic City.
This deal follows an acquisition last week where the pair bought a portfolio of 7,150 student beds in the UK from funds managed by US-based Oaktree Capital Management.
About 3,364 beds have been built in the past three years in nine student accommodation buildings in six major UK university cities – Liverpool, Bristol, London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Southampton. The remaining pipeline of 3,516 beds are in five cities including Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Plymouth and Portsmouth. These will be built over the next 30 months.
Nicholas Porter, the executive chairman of GSA Group, said: “GIC is a highly experienced capital partner in the student accommodation sector and we are very pleased to be working together with them to realise the significant growth opportunities present in this market.”
He said there were a “huge number of students studying in Germany, but accommodation is in short supply and purpose-built student accommodation almost non-existent. By creating communities within our Uninest residences, we can enhance their overall university experience.”
Madeleine Cosgrave, the European regional head of GIC Real Estate, said: “We are excited to enter the German student housing market, which is at an early stage of growth. We see good opportunities for consolidation as the market is highly fragmented.”