Alma closes debut fund – Exclusive

The Nordics-focused firm’s first vehicle is 60% committed to investments across property types.

Alma Property Partners has closed its first fund on €140 million, PERE has learned.

The firm launched Alma Property Partners I with a €200 million target at the time of its founding in 2014. The fund is 60 percent deployed across 14 deals, and the firm expects to invest 75 percent of the vehicle’s capital by year-end. Fund I’s capital is expected to be 50 percent allocated to Sweden and 50 percent to other Nordic markets, including Finland, Denmark and Norway.

“There’s a lot of institutional capital still flowing into real estate, especially from fixed income,” Simon de Château, the firm’s chief investment officer, told PERE. “There’s also a continued focus on larger transactions, both from investors and from financial institutions, banks and so forth. This is the environment that creates an attractive set of opportunities for an opportunistic player like Alma that focuses on small and mid-cap deals. Sweden is our home market and the largest and most diverse of the four markets, so there is a larger number of deals we can pursue.”

The firm is targeting an 18-20 percent gross internal rate of return. In one recent investment that closed last quarter, Alma bought a four-property office portfolio in Helsinki for €40 million-€50 million. The properties were about 35 percent vacant in a suburban location where a metro station is currently under construction. de Château said the deal was emblematic of the firm’s approach to buying real estate in good locations with a strategy of repositioning for core buyers.

Swedish pension funds, which participated in Fund I’s first close on €80 million in April 2016, formed the bulk of the vehicle’s investor base. Its other investors include a British public pension fund, a German insurance company, a foundation and multi-managers.

“We had good home team support in Sweden,” de Château said. “It’s never easy to raise a first fund. We worked hard to build a pipeline, build a team and execute on deals and do all of that in parallel with raising the fund. We’re very happy with the success we’re having in these areas.”

de Château was part of a trio of senior private real estate executives who teamed up to form the Stockholm-based firm in 2014. The founders were from some of the best-known firms in the Nordic region: de Château, who co-founded Stockholm-based Sveafastigheter and was its chief executive officer; Christofer Lundquist, the former head of real estate at Stockholm-based property company Hemso; and Sloan Wobbeking, the ex-director of business development and investor relations at Niam, the region’s largest real estate investment manager. The founders have since added five professionals to the firm.

In August, the firm hired Robert Landtman as partner to open an office in Finland. Between 2010 and 2014, Landtman worked with de Château at Sveafastigheter, where he was part of the Finnish investment team. Next, the firm may open an office in Copenhagen in the future, depending on talent availability, de Château said.

Regardless of future office expansions, he expects a strong pipeline of deals across the region.

“We see that there are quite a lot of opportunities for a company like ours, some opportunistic deals in the smaller and mid-cap of the market because of market imbalances, so we’re expecting to continue to invest at a pretty quick pace.”