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AIMCo engages ‘value’ deal in UK region(2)

Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), the investment management business of the Province of Alberta, has entered the UK investment market with a value-added investment in Manchester in the UK, PERE can reveal.

AIMCo, which manages money on behalf of pension funds, endowments and other funds selected by the Alberta Ministry of Finance and Enterprise has acquired the Exchange Quay office park, in Manchester’s Salford area in a deal understood to be valued at more than £20 million (€24 million; $32.5 million).

While small in equity value the deal is nonetheless significant as it represents a further example of international institutional investors willing to look beyond London and beyond core strategies for real estate investments in the UK.

The 433,637 square foot, seven office Exchange Quay was developed in the late eighties and although it houses blue chip tenants including US bank Citigroup and UK bank Barclays it is 42 percent vacant and has further impending lease expiries. As such its acquisition is more of a value-added investment by AIMCo.

AIMCo was introduced to the investment by Edinburgh-based fund manager Hunter Property Fund Management. It was previously placed on the market for £32.5 million in September 2012, according to an announcement then by broker Savills, which described it as in need of “immediate asset management…for an investor to add value”, indicating the Canadian institution managed to secure the asset at a meaningful discount.

All parties declined to comment.