LONDON: NewRiver REIT has exchanged contracts to acquire Sprucefield Retail Park, Lisburn from Intu Properties plc for £40 million, representing a net initial yield of 8.7%.

Once completed, the acquisition will generate an additional £3.7 million of annualised Net Property Income for NewRiver.

Sprucefield Retail Park is one of Northern Ireland’s leading out-of-town retail destinations and is located just one mile south of Lisburn city centre, adjacent to the main junction between Northern Ireland’s M1 motorway and the A1 road, which is the main route connecting Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic.

The 47-acre site comprises a five-unit retail park providing 231,000 sq of retail space, a 1,200-space free car park and 18 acres of development land. The retail park is anchored by Sainsbury’s and B&Q, and has an affordable average rent of £16.11 per sq ft, with a weighted average unexpired lease term of 7.5 years.

In addition to benefitting from an attractive entry price with a yield of 8.7% and a capital value per sq ft of £19 across the site, NewRiver has identified significant opportunities to extract value from the asset, through active asset management and the disposal of parcels of land for development.

Proposed asset management initiatives include letting a vacant unit at the asset, for which negotiations have already begun with prospective tenants, and right-sizing units to increase the sustainability of income and diversify the retail offer. The gross asset value subject to this transaction is £40.0 million, and this will be satisfied from existing resources and available credit facilities.

Allan Lockhart, Chief Executive commented: “We are pleased to announce that we have exchanged contracts to acquire Sprucefield Retail Park. This high-quality asset will generate £3.7 million of annualised Net Property Income, which will be highly accretive to Underlying Funds From Operations and significant in improving our dividend cover, which is our key priority. In addition to an attractive long-term income return, the development land offers the opportunity to deliver significant capital growth, leading to a very attractive total return. Our successful disposal programme in this financial year places us in a position to take advantage of current market dislocations and make highly accretive acquisitions such as Sprucefield Retail Park and the recently-acquired Poole Retail Park.”