Kenmore alliance plans Gulf property fund

The UK fund manager has announced a partnership with Saudi Arabian banking firm Watan Investments, which would see the duo raise funds in the Gulf region to target regional opportunities as well as investments in the UK and Europe.

Kenmore Property Group has partnered with Saudi Arabia’s Watan Investments with plans to raise a real estate fund in the Gulf region, the duo said in a statement.

The UK fund manager, which operates four closed-ended real estate funds as well as open-ended vehicles, said the JV would provide a “structure” for raising funds in Saudi Arabia for investment in Kenmore’s existing platforms – as well as for launching new funds targeting the Gulf region.

The firms said they would “explore opportunities” to raise a Saudi Arabia-domiciled fund that would invest in the Kingdom, as well as across the Gulf Cooperation Council area. Watan would act as fund manager, while Kenmore would provide advisory services. The fund is expected to be launched in 2009, “subject to market conditions”.

Kenmore manages four closed-ended real estate funds, including the £300 million value-add fund, MK Europe, which closed in March 2006. The fund targets investments in Germany, Scandinavia and the UK. Kenmore has two core funds, the £100 million Adam Second Property Partnership and the £460 million Kenmore European Industrial Fund, as well as a £60 million opportunistic vehicle, Kenmore Land, which closed in 2005, and focuses on land investments, development and refurbishment of office and industrial properties.

John Kennedy, chairman of Kenmore, said the JV would allow the Edinburgh-based firm to expand its operations across the Middle East. Kenmore opened an office in Dubai in 2006, and according to the firm’s website, has invested in 11 deals with a total built-up area of 3.4 million square feet and a gross development value of more than £600 million.

 Dr Ihsan A bu-Hulaiga, chairman and managing director of Watan Investments and Securities said there was “strong appetite” from investors in the Middle East to “gain access to new markets.”