Saudi Arabian asset managers have their eyes on European commercial real estate, according to experts.
Sherif Selim, head of global real estate at Saudi Arabian asset management firm SEDCO Capital, told Arabian Business: “Since the British pound weakened against the dollar in 2016, UK assets have become even better value. While London has traditionally been the centre of focus of foreign investment, we believe that there are unique opportunities to be found in regions across the UK.”
Selim added: “We have confidence in the UK as a whole and we foresee an increasing demand for commercial property in the medium-term as companies expand in response to positive economic conditions.”
SEDCO Capital announced on Tuesday that it has acquired three properties worth £137.5m ($179.9m) across France and the UK as investments for its clients.
The deal involved the purchase of office buildings in Yorkshire and Bracknell in the UK and Paris in France.
In the UK, SEDCO Capital advised on the acquisition of two properties: a 25-acre distribution site in Yorkshire for £31.8m and a 4.7-acre office complex in Bracknell, Berkshire for £35.2m.
In Paris, the Saudi asset manager assisted in the purchase of an office building in the Levallois Perret suburb. The 9,800 square metre multi-let office building serves as the French headquarters to Italian energy company ENI and marks SEDCO Capital’s first investment in France.
Hassan Farran, a director for Savills cross-border investment team, told Arabian Business: “Saudi buyers have traditionally liked the UK for a few key reasons: ease of entry, the landlord-friendly environment and the long, FRI leases. More recently the weak exchange rate against the dollar has been a big pull.”
Farran said property deals outside of London are increasingly popular as the regional UK real estate markets offer ‘more yield’ than central London.
The Savills director added: “Income continues to be a key motivation for this group of investors.”
SEDCO Capital UK was advised by Roebuck Asset Management and Savills in the UK and Simmons & Simmons, Duhamel Blimbaum, C&C Notaires and Denjean in France.