EUROPE NEWS: Under the radar

Exeter Property Group, the Pennsylvania-based real estate investment firm, is a relatively well-known logistics company in the US real estate market. Since it was established in 2006, the firm has managed to raise three funds, all of which have been oversubscribed, for nearly $2 billion.

Yet, it still came as a shock to some market sources speaking to PERE when the firm announced a €300 million, Europe-focused logistics partnership with GIC Private, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund.

“They [GIC] are already pretty committed to the sector through LP interests in funds,” says one London-based real estate fund manager. “You would have thought there would be other people to partner with who already have a platform rather than an American looking to build up a European business.”

Yet, this view does Exeter something of a disservice say other sources, as Exeter plays a different game to the well-known logistics firms such as Goodman or Prologis.

“If you look at the large portfolio GIC bought in the US that is core, whereas Exeter traditionally has been a real value-add manager and will do ground up development or tenant vacant properties,” says one source with knowledge of the GIC and Exeter partnership agreement. “GIC has seen the ripe core pricing and wants, not necessarily to move up the risk spectrum, but pursue build or lease into core strategies so they can buy at a better basis rather than buy at a 4 percent yield for 10 year income, they already have that in their portfolio.”

What all sources agree on though is that by bagging a heavyweight such as GIC, Exeter’s European team, led by Paul Rubincam, formerly head of the UK office at US developer Liberty Property Trust, they will struggle to go under the radar in Europe for much longer.