A Rare Beast: This Investor Wants To Plough £250M Into Struggling UK Retail Assets
The UK retail real estate sector had pretty much ground to a standstill even before the coronavirus hit, with investors unsure how much to pay for assets if there was no certainty about whether tenants would keep paying rents.
But a new investor in the sector has emerged: Maya Capital this week said it wants to deploy as much as £250M into struggling retail assets across the UK. It has hired Jared Hart, previously at Trophaeum Asset Partners and Thor Equities, to oversee the investment drive.
Maya won’t have much competition. In 2019, £4.9B was invested in UK retail property, 14% down on the year before and almost half the 10-year average, according to BNP Paribas Real Estate. With the coronavirus hitting investment in all sectors and having closed most of the UK’s shops for three months, the 2020 figures are likely to be even lower. In Q1, less than £1B transacted, BNP said, only the second time the quarterly figure has fallen so low in the past two decades.
Maya did not specify precisely what type of retail assets it would be looking at but said it wanted to use its expertise in regional offices to buy into UK regional retail.
“Even prior to COVID-19, some retail assets were no longer sustainable due to a mix of high rents and capex requirements,” said Hart, who was named Maya's head of acquisitions. “Our aim is to build on Maya’s already successful office strategy to target those retail assets in need of regeneration.”
Maya was set up by former Helios Capital and Moor Park Director David Pralong in 2015. It has built up a portfolio of regional offices of more than £100M in partnership with Italian-backed firm GWM, with debt provided by Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC.