Ripley makes investment and reveals war chest

RIPLEY Asset Management has bought a prime retail investment in Halifax for £1.78m.

The Harrogate-based business, run by Julian D’Arcy and Michael Hardman, has purchased 26-30 Southgate on behalf of the Longcross Investment Fund from a private seller.

The tenants of 26-30 Southgate, which comprises 5,000 sq ft of retail space, are Sports Direct and the Banana Beach Tanning Company. The headline rent is £55 sq ft, providing a yield of 8.45%.

Mr Hardman said: “This is an excellent off-market acquisition for us. The property is in the heart of the pedestrianised area of Halifax town centre and close to the new Broadgate office and leisure development.

“Sports Direct are a very popular retailer and have signed a long-term lease, while the initial yield is very attractive.

Mr Hardman, former partner in Yorkshire Bank’s structured property finance team, and Mr D’Arcy, former chairman of the northern region of property consultancy Knight Frank, are now looking for more acquisitions to manage on behalf of the Longcross Property Investment Fund.

Mr Hardman said: “On the back of a successful first year for Longcross, we have restructured our debt up to 46% loan to value that sits well with the model of the fund and we have strong income lines to service our modest gearing going forward.

“This has created a war chest of £4m to invest. We are especially pleased that we have achieved our success in the midst of the worst recession since the Second World War. We are now focused on reducing our gearing over the next three years and enhancing the value of our stock through our asset management strategies.

Mr D’Arcy said: “During the next six to 12 months we will be aiming to increase our strong client base and grow the Longcross Property Investment Fund. We have the capabilities to grow and manage in-house assets to well in excess of £100m.”