Mapletree acquires UK business park

Green Park, in Reading, Berkshire, is about an hour's drive from Heathrow Airport, Mapletree said. Reading is a key commercial hub in the Thames Valley.
Green Park, in Reading, Berkshire, is about an hour's drive from Heathrow Airport, Mapletree said. Reading is a key commercial hub in the Thames Valley.PHOTO: MAPLETREE INVESTMENTS

It buys 79-ha Green Park in Reading from Oxford Properties Group for 'over £500m'

Mapletree Investments has acquired a vast freehold business park in Britain from Oxford Properties Group, as part of its strategy to tap new growth opportunities in developed markets.

The 79-ha Green Park, in Reading, Berkshire, is about an hour's drive from Heathrow Airport, Mapletree said yesterday. Reading is a key commercial hub in the Thames Valley.

The firm declined to disclose the investment cost, but sources familiar with the deal put it at over £500 million (S$992.4 million). Green Park has about 1.4 million sq ft of Grade A offices across 19 buildings, and an occupancy of 93 per cent.

Mapletree added that there is further development potential of 1.1 million sq ft, and plans are under way to lift the park's lettable space.

"Development of the unbuilt space will be phased to meet future anticipated demand for offices", it said in a statement yesterday.

The business park features lush landscaping and amenities including retail shops, a conference centre and food and beverage outlets.

Mapletree group chief executive Hiew Yoon Khong, said: "We will review the park's well-developed master plan, and put in place new facilities and activities to continue providing occupiers with a conducive business location that offers a holistic live-work-play experience."

He added that Mapletree is "happy to have Oxford working alongside us until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition, and work on some of these asset enhancement initiatives".

Current tenants at Green Park include global corporations such as PepsiCo, Huawei, Quintiles, Veritas and Cisco. The business park has direct access to the M4 motorway and is well-served by the railway system. Mapletree said the Crossrail, which will be ready in 2019, will further enhance connectivity from Reading to other parts of London.

Mapletree first entered the British property market in May last year, and has built a portfolio of office and student accommodation assets. The Green Park deal takes the assets under management in the country for Mapletree to £1.4 billion.

Mr Hiew said in the statement: "(The acquisition) is aligned with our current five-year business plan to acquire quality, income-producing assets with long weighted average leases to expiry which are anchored by a strong tenant base, to give us stable and growing yields".

The firm will continue to invest in offices and business parks in the city-fringe and key regional markets, and student housing, serviced apartments and logistics properties in Britain.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2016, with the headline 'Mapletree acquires UK business park'. Print Edition | Subscribe