Core Industrial assets top €100m ahead of planned sale

Company says that industrial real estate ‘held its value’ during Covid-19 pandemic

Core Industrial Properties, a former Irish real-estate investment trust (Reit) that abandoned a stock market flotation three years ago, saw its asset base rise by 10 per cent to more than €100 million in 2019, ahead of a major refinancing and a move to put its portfolio of industrial and logistics properties up for sale.

The increase was driven by an 8 per cent uplift in the value of its investment properties, according to recently filed accounts with the Companies Registration Office.

The company added that industrial real estate “held its value” during the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic.

Core Industrial, led by Daniel Donovan and William Redmond, pulled a €225 million initial public offering (IPO) in March 2018, citing unfavourable "market conditions".

The company was set up in 2017 by US hedge fund York Capital, which used it as a vehicle to package more than €80 million of industrial units acquired in the Republic following the property crash. The two Irish executives worked with York Capital on assembling the portfolio.

York Capital reversed out of Core Industrial in August 2019, with US investment fund Pramerica Real Estate Capital providing the funds for a repayment of loans from the hedge fund.

Core Industrial's latest financial report said the company dropped its Reit status last May and refinanced again in July, with the London-based Mount Street Group, a property debt specialist founded by former investment bankers Ravi Joseph and Paul Lloyd, taking a charge over its assets.

Core Industrial declined to comment beyond what was stated in the accounts. Under Irish law, a Reit must float on the stock market within three years of being incorporated.

Planned sale

The Irish Times reported last month that Core Industrial has hired CBRE and Eastdil Secured with a view to putting its portfolio on the market to take advantage of strong demand for industrial and logistics assets within the greater Dublin area.

At the time of the aborted IPO, Core Industrial had a portfolio of 106 industrial buildings and 167 acres of land, of which about 35 acres is zoned for development. While the portfolio includes properties in Rathcoole, Clondalkin and Finglas, its largest single asset is Naas Enterprise Park in Co Kildare, known formerly as Tougher Business Park.

Core Industrial is ultimately controlled by a Luxembourg-based holding company, where Mr Donovan and Mr Redmond are directors, alongside an executive from a local corporate services firm.

Core’s equity valuation was €49.2 million at the end of 2019, net of borrowings and other liabilities.

The business generated €5.78 million in gross rental income for the reporting year in question, up from €4.85 million for 2018. The accounts, signed off in December, said that during the height of the Covid-19 crisis, between March and June last year, rent collection remained at more than 90 per cent.

“The board of directors believe that practically all rent will be paid, albeit with some tenants needing to delay their payments over a period of time,” it said, adding that they “generally consider that industrial property has held its value during the pandemic and continues to be in demand”.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times

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