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GSA completes acquisition of student housing fund

The London-based student housing developer said the deal reflects its desire to build a global presence in the growing sector.

 Global Student Accommodation (GSA) Group, the London-based student housing developer and investor, has completed the acquisition of Coral Portfolio Limited, an investment fund which focuses on student accommodation.

GSA Group’s investment management division originally purchased 50 percent of Luxembourg-based Coral in May 2014 and has now acquired the remaining stake. The business will be rebranded as GSA Coral.
It is understood that GLA Group did not buy any investor stakes in this transaction or the 2014 deal. Additionally, the firm has not invested directly into the Coral fund. 
A spokesman for GLA Group said it was building a global presence in the sector at a time when the number of students enrolled at university is forecasted to grow by 100 million over the next decade. The statement also said that the rapidly increasing student mobility and an imbalance in the demand and supply of university housing were other factors driving its decision to expand.
Nicholas Porter, executive chairman and founder of GSA Group said: “GSA Coral will continue to offer our investors the opportunity to participate in the growing student accommodation sector via a platform of transparent, regulated funds managed with careful attention to risk management and the highest standards of service delivery.” 
“The coming months hold great promise as we tap into an exciting and dynamic new sector and we look forward to working with existing and new investors to continue to grow the fund and maximize returns,” he added.
John Kennedy, founder of Coral said: “Our expanded expertise and capabilities will offer unrivalled access for our investors to unique and rewarding projects in targeted UK and international locations.”
GSA Group, founded in 2008, has created over $7.5 billion worth of student housing in 44 cities across eight countries, with ongoing developments in the pipeline in Australia, Ireland, Japan, the UAE and the UK.
Coral established its EU-regulated student accommodation fund in 2008 and offers investors exposure to the student accommodation sector. It has acquired assets in markets such as Europe, Australia and Dubai.
Last November, GSA Group appointed Victor Lor, the former founder of real estate capital and advisory firm VB Capital Asia, as Asia Pacific head of investment management to help push the firm’s expansion in the region.
Meanwhile, last September, the firm received planning permission to develop its first student accommodation property in Dublin, a 400-bed development project launched as a partnership with The Creedon Group, an Irish property investment and management firm.