Nottinghamshire builds up position in SL’s European property fund

Standard Life’s European Property Growth Fund has invested in 31 properties in nine countries, including an office property in Brussels.

Irish energy company Electricity Supply Board General Employees Superannuation Fund (ESB) has sold more of its position in Standard Life Investments’ European Property Growth Fund, according to UK regulatory notices.

A stake of undisclosed size was purchased by Nottinghamshire County Council, an existing limited partner in the fund with a prior commitment of £11 million (€13.86 million, $17.26 million).

ESB previously sold part of its interest in the fund in 2013, according to UK notices, but it is unknown if it holds any further stake in the European Property Growth Fund.

Both Nottinghamshire County Council and ESB could not be reached for comment by press time.

Standard Life declined to comment.

The 2001-vintage real estate-focused vehicle has raised a total of €800 million. It initially raised €300 million but later restructured in 2005 from a closed-ended structure to open-ended, after limited partners demanded increased flexibility and a longer fund life, according to a prior Standard Life statement.

Other LPs include Aviva Investors, Pfizer Corporate Pension Plan and Danish financial services Pen-Sam.  Swiss Pfizer pension plan sold its stake in the fund in August, while Chevron UK pension plan bought a stake in the fund at the beginning of this month.

The European Property Growth Fund is currently investing in real estate in Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Spain and Sweden. Targeted property types include industrial, office and retail.

By January 2008, the fund had invested in 31 properties in nine countries, including an €80 million purchase of four properties in Sweden and Belgium — two retail warehouse terraces in Sweden, an office property in Brussels and a light industrial estate near Antwerp.

The fund was generating an annual return rate of 12.2 percent (net of all fees) from its launch in 2001 until 2008, according to Standard Life’s website. Its target return rate is 10 percent per year, over a 5-year period.

At the beginning of 2013, Standard Life completed a refinancing package with Crédit Agricole to secure a €150.7 million senior debt facility for the fund. The facility was secured on 11 properties in France, Belgium and Germany for a 3-year period, according to a statement.

The European Property Growth Fund is managed by James Rushworth, who joined Standard Life in 2000 and opened the firm’s Parisian office in 2007, according to the firm’s website.

Standard Life is currently in market with its European Real Estate fund, which launched this year and has so far raised €29.3 million of its €350 million target.