Warehouse group in £35m Liverpool acquisition, with more to come

Andrew Bird

Warehouse REIT, which operates from Chester, has bought four modern units in Liverpool for £35m.

The AIM-listed company that invests in e-commerce urban and last-mile industrial warehouse assets in the UK, said the sheds are on Boulevard Industry Park in Speke, Liverpool, totalling 390,000 sq ft.

Ranging from 74,000 sq ft to 163,000 sq ft, the units are occupied by three separate occupiers spanning the automotive and pharmaceutical sectors.

The properties generate a net rental income of £2.1m per annum, equating to a low average rent of £5.31 per sq ft and provide a WAULT (weighted average unexpired lease term) of more than seven years.

Boulevard Industry Park is one of Liverpool’s most successful and popular business locations, immediately adjacent to Jaguar Land Rover’s 300-acre Halewood manufacturing plant and major Astra Zeneca and Seqirus facilities.

Occupiers benefit from the asset’s prominent location fronting onto Speke Boulevard (A561), the principle southern gateway into Liverpool city centre, seven miles to the north west, which provides easy access onto the M57 and M62 motorways, as well as its close proximity to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport.

The North West is one of the fastest growing regions in the UK, which is benefiting from a rising population of more than seven million people and continued investment into the region’s infrastructure.

Large projects such as Liverpool2, the new deep-water terminal at the Port of Liverpool, The Mersey Gateway Project between Runcorn and Widnes, and the £1bn investment at Manchester Airport are all expected to drive economic development and increase demand for industrial space.

Last week Warehouse REIT raised £45.9m by way of a share placing to fund a near term pipeline of acquisitions.

Alongside the previously announced £14m acquisition of two distribution warehouses in Harlow, this transaction substantially deploys the proceeds of the placing and takes Warehouse REIT’s portfolio past eight million sq ft.

Andrew Bird, managing director of the investment advisor, Tilstone Partners Limited, said: “The North West is one of the UK’s most dynamic regions from both a population and employment perspective, and the significant infrastructure investments made and ongoing is putting the availability of modern, urban warehouse space under severe pressure.

“Despite this, there are a number of pockets where average rents have yet to catch up with the rest of the market, and having acquired a number of assets at and since IPO, the company now benefits from a strong weighting in the region.

“This transaction marks significant progress delivering on the agreed pipeline and we are pleased that the company has now deployed the majority of the equity raised at the recent placing.

“We are grateful for the support of shareholders and, utilising the agreed revolving credit facility, the company has remaining firepower of circa £50m, allowing it to continue to source and execute on attractive opportunities as it focuses on growing and diversifying the portfolio, whilst improving both the contracted income and reversion potential.”