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Royal London buys stake in Bluewater shopping centre from Hermes Investment Management

By Chris Price

A pensions and investment company has bought a 7.5% stake in Bluewater shopping centre.

Royal London Insurance Society has acquired the share of the mall formerly owned by £30.1 billion asset manager Hermes Investment Management.

The deal gives Royal London, which manages £106 billion of funds, a seat on the board of the shopping centre alongside its other stakeholders.

Bluewater shopping centre opened in 1999

Bluewater shopping centre opened in 1999

Bluewater near Dartford, which attracts 27 million shoppers a year, is seen as a sound long-term investment by insurers and asset managers.

Valued at more than £2 billion, its other investors are believed to include Prudential, with around a 35% stake, Lend Lease Retail Partnership, with about 25%, and Aberdeen Asset Management.

Landsec, the largest commercial property company in the UK, owns a controlling 30% stake.

Michael Lawrence, head of retail at Royal London Asset Management, said: “This acquisition of Hermes Investment Management’s 7.5% stake in Bluewater shopping centre represents a strong new addition to our portfolio, as we continue to target high quality assets in the retail space.

Bluewater has 1.8m sqft of shopping space

Bluewater has 1.8m sqft of shopping space

“As one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK and Europe, this new holding provides us with a good opportunity to invest in one of the region’s most popular shopping destinations.”

Chris Taylor, head of private markets at Hermes Investment Management, added: “As we continue to diversify our global portfolio, this sale of our 7.5% stake in Bluewater shopping centre is a good result for the fund.

“It leaves us well placed to focus on our strategy of re-deploying capital into the market, as well as identifying new acquisitions where we believe additional value can be added through asset management.”

HP Four advised Hermes Investment Management on the sale. Coady Supple acted for Royal London.

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