The buyer is Home Invest Belgium (HIB), a major REIT in the residential sector in Belgium. The transaction is structured through a sale and lease-back deal and the properties will continue to operate under the B-aparthotels brand name.
The sold portfolio comprises a total of 185 apartments all located in key locations in Brussels: B- aparthotels Ambiorix (64 keys) in the heart of the EU area, B-aparthotels Grand Place (42 keys) in the immediate vicinity of the renowned square, B-aparthotels Regent (45 keys) facing Madou square and B-aparthotels Montgomery (34 keys) overlooking the Montgomery roundabout. Two properties (Ambiorix and Montgomery) will be repositioned and will go through a full renovation programme during the coming year.
The transaction is expected to be closed before the year end. The investment value of the portfolio has been set at €36 million and the fixed rent corresponds to a 5.1 per cent yield in a long-term lease. The acquisition will be financed through bank loans.
B-aparthotels Group currently operates six aparthotels in Belgium (Brussels, Antwerp) and in the Netherlands (The Hague), and is expected to open a flagship in Amsterdam at the Ven Amsterdam complex towards the end of 2018.
Romain Avril, CEO of B-aparthotels, said: "The sale of our real estate interests of our aparthotels in Brussels through the disposal of our company Be Real Estate S.A. constitutes an important milestone for the future of the group. It allows us to focus on our core business of apart-hotel operator and provides us the financial strength to boost the international expansion of the group, which remains the key objective for the future. The apart-hotel sector is untapped in Europe and we have identified tremendous development opportunities whereby the B-aparthotels brand plays a key role. We have ambitious growth plans and our target is to reach 30 apart-hotels in operation and under development in Europe by 2022. This transaction is the backbone for the extension of our partnership with Home Invest Belgium in the Benelux area."
Nicolas Vincent, chief investment officer (CIO) of Home Invest Belgium, said: "We invest in the residential sector only. However, our strategy is to look at the residential sector in the broad sense of the term. I think of traditional apartments, furnished apartments, student housing, co- housing, or any other form of residential including aparthotels. Our strategy is clear but it must be seen without wearing blinkers. Entering into the aparthotel sector allows us to acquire high-quality real estate positions. By definition, aparthotel locations are often excellent and very central."