The Grosvenor Group, a privately owned property group known for developing prime London addresses including Mayfair and Belgravia, has made its first investment commitment to sub-Saharan Africa. The flagship investment in RMB Westport’s Real Estate Development Fund II, was made by the Group’s Indirect Investment team, who are seeking investment opportunities with third-party managers.
RMB Westport, a real estate investment management and development firm, has been involved with the development of retail and office projects across sub-Saharan Africa. Their first fund, RMB Westport Real Estate Development Fund I, closed in June 2012 and raised a total of $250m. Ikeja City Mall and Circle Mall in Nigeria, as well as Stanbic Heights, Junction Shopping Centre and Accra Financial Centre in Ghana are among RMB Westport’s completed projects. Others in their development pipeline include The Wings Office Towers, Asokoro City Mall and Royal Gardens Mall in Nigeria, Patriota Shopping Centre and Muxima Shopping Centre in Angola as well Takoradi Mall in Ghana.
RMB Westport’s second fund will develop a combination of shopping centres, office buildings and industrial assets, targeting primarily Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and the Ivory Coast. According to Grosvenor, the total capital raised in the initial close for Fund II is over $200m.
Commenting on the deal, Mark Preston, Chief Executive of the Grosvenor Group, said:
“This investment reflects our ambition to continue to diversify the Grosvenor Group. We have been keeping abreast of the opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa for some time and think that now is the right time to start investing in the region. It is a significant step for Grosvenor and I hope that we will increase our investment in the region over the long-term.”
Chris Taite, Grosvenor Group Investment Director, added that this investment would give them the opportunity to gain exposure to the sub-Saharan Africa region.
This investment commitment demonstrates that international institutional investors still have confidence in real estate markets across Africa despite the commodity crisis that has faced economies like Nigeria, Angola, Zambia and even Ghana. Africa’s rapidly growing urban population and strong economic fundamentals still remain attractive for investors across board.
To date, the Indirect Investment team has committed £150m with a variety of specialist third-party managers internationally. This includes: IO Asset Management in the UK; High Street Equity in the USA; Kefren Capital Real Estate in Spain; and Propertylink in Australia, which acquired 320 Pitt Street, an office tower in Sydney, for AUS$200m earlier this year.