Abu Dhabi bank finances $33m UK student accommodation deal

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has announced it has provided structured financing of AED124 million ($33.7m) through its UK operation supporting Bahrain-based Blacksand with its latest acquisition.

Blacksand is a UK-focused property company, which owns a diversified property portfolio ranging from offices to student accommodation as well as residential development projects.

The subject property known as Vibe Student Living comprises a purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) asset situated in Kingston-upon-Thames, which was completed in February 2018. 

The property provides 300 fully furnished units across 111 studios and 189 en-suite cluster bed spaces. Facilities include a gym, indoor cinema, cleaning service, bicycles to rent, study pods, lounges, and a laundry room. The property also has a retail unit on the ground floor leased to Europcar for an unexpired lease term of eight years.

Paul Maisfield, head of UK Real Estate at ADIB, said: “We are delighted to have supported Blacksand on this transaction and we look forward to continuing to support the execution of their UK commercial real estate investment strategy, targeting prime regional assets with good income visibility and strong tenant covenants with a focus on cash yield.

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“The appetite amongst our GCC investors remains strong for quality UK real estate, particularly assets that have demonstrated resilience during the pandemic, with underlying strong fundamentals. 

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank supports Bahrain-based Blacksand with its latest acquisition.

“Despite the unparalleled uncertainty during the last academic cycle, investors continue to view the UK PBSA sector favorably.  The market has performed stronger than expected throughout the crisis, with reports of robust booking and occupancy rates,” he added.

This was reflected on the subject property, which maintained 95 percent occupancy during the 2020/21 academic year and has secured 100 percent bookings for 2021/22, he said.

Maisfield also said the outlook for the PBSA sector for 2021 is strong and anticipates demand to increase in the next few years. 

ADIB said it has closed over AED750m in senior financing transactions including AED260m financing for a major Saudi investor to acquire the PWC HQ in Belfast this year alone.

ADIB’s UK operations are part of the bank’s International Business Group, which also has operations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Iraq.

Courtesy of: Arabian Business