GIC, Macquarie buy majority stake in Australian student accommodation firm Iglu

Singapore investment firm GIC and a unit of Macquarie Group have teamed up to buy a majority stake in an Australian provider of student accommodation. -- FILE PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Singapore investment firm GIC and a unit of Macquarie Group have teamed up to buy a majority stake in an Australian provider of student accommodation. -- FILE PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Singapore investment firm GIC and a unit of Macquarie Group have teamed up to buy a majority stake in an Australian provider of student accommodation.

GIC and Macquarie Capital will form a joint venture to take an undisclosed stake in Iglu, which has a property portfolio worth about A$150 million (S$168.3 million).

GIC said the deal was the largest of its kind in the Australian student accommodation sector, but did not disclose the value of the transaction.

Iglu develops, operates and owns purpose built off-campus student accommodation. Its portfolio comprises more than 900 beds across three properties in Sydney and Brisbane, GIC said.

The two investment companies said on Wednesday that more funding will be committed to build more Iglu-managed properties close to educational institutions and public transport, in cities where there is a shortage of suitable student accommodation.

"The student accommodation sector has excellent investment fundamentals with a well documented supply shortage," said Mr Chris Green, global head of Macquarie Capital Real Estate, in a statement.

"We believe Iglu is an outstanding developer and operator of off-campus student accommodation in Australia, and as such is the ideal business to work with us to build a portfolio of premium assets in the best locations across the country."

Iglu director Jonathan Gliksten said Australia is now the third most popular international student destination, after the United States and Britain.

"The increase in student numbers has not been met with an equivalent increase in suitable accommodation supply," he added.

Iglu's portfolio currently comprises three properties: a fully-operational 98-bed facility in Central, Sydney, a 395-bed facility in Chatswood, Sydney that is open for the 2014 academic year, and a 414-bed facility in the Brisbane central business district that is in a planning stage.

GIC's investment in Iglu comes after it partnered a group of investors earlier this month to buy US$1.3 billion worth of Manhattan office space from Time Warner Inc.

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