In December 2014, SEB Asset Management sold the SEB Europe Prime office portfolio to the US REIT NorthStar Realty Finance Corp. This is one of the largest transactions in the area of commercial real estate in the past year. The sale, with a transaction volume of EUR 1,1 billion, concerns eleven commercial properties in zeven European countries including The Netherlands. In New York City NorthStar acquired the portfolio together with Cale Street Partners in London in a structured sales process. Cushman & Wakefield supervised the acquisition on behalf of NorthStar and they exprect the closing of the transaction to take place in the first quarter of 2015.
Mathijs Flierman, Head of Capital Markets at Cushman & Wakefield Netherlands: "The sale of the SEB Europe Prime offices portfolio to NorthStar is the largest real estate transaction of 2014, a year that is characterized by many great deals. German open-ended fund SEB is also a major player in the Dutch market with highly qualified real estate and mostly long-term leases. The KPN building in Amsterdam and the Maastoren in Rotterdam are part of this portfolio which totals approximately 186,000 sqm of office space with a total average occupancy rate of 93 percent. With this transaction NorthStar has acquired a portfolio with an attractive combination of secured income, high quality tenants and an interesting geographical spread in Europe."
Barbara Knoflach, Chief Executive Officer of SEB Asset Management AG: "The great interest by global institutional investors in our Europe Prime Portfolio shows that we have created an attractive investment product. As part of our portfolio strategy, we will continue to act on the international investment market with attractive core and value-add products."
The transaction volume reflects the current market value of the portfolio. The buildings are part of the mutal funds SEB ImmoInvest, SEB ImmoPortfolio Target Return Fund and SEB Global Property. The properties are spread out over the highly sought-after European cities London (2 properties), Paris (2), Hamburg (2), Milan, Brussels, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Gothenburg. The tenant structure ranges from financial service providers and business consulting firms to telecommunications and insurance. Key tenants include BNP Paribas, Ernst & Young (EY), KPN, Deloitte and Cushman & Wakefield. Overall, the properties are leased out to 47 tenants under long-term leases.
The fact that the buyer has retained SEB Asset Management to continue to provide certain services related to the properties hightlights SEB Assset Management's position as one of Europe's leading asset management companies and real estate service providers.