NB Real Estate and Atisreal asked to re-pitch for 43m sq ft mandate

Royal Mail is on the hunt for new advisers for its £2bn property portfolio.

The postal service has reached the end of its contract with NB Real Estate and Atisreal, and has asked for new pitches to advise on its 43m sq ft portfolio.

The decision not to extend the incumbents’ contracts further they have already been extended by six months could be seen as the first move by new portfolio director Laurence Poultney to stamp his authority on the estate, which has around 2,600 properties.

Poultney, who works with property director Martin Gafsen, is known in the industry as a driving force for change.

His appointment, along with the publication of the tender documents for new advisers in the Official Journal of the European Union at the end of last year, marks a new property strategy for Royal Mail.

It is thought to be drawing up plans for sale and leasebacks on its estate, as well as concluding the disposals of some London sites, such as Mount Pleasant in Clerkenwell, north London.

In the journal notice, Royal Mail outlines the services it is looking for as: ‘property management, ratings, disposals, acquisitions, reporting into the client’s financial and programme management systems, and reporting on ad hoc property matters’.

Both incumbent agents are likely to re-apply for the contract, along with other UK corporate services departments such as King Sturge and Drivers Jonas.

While the contract is currently split between two advising firms, it could be geographically split between up to six, and each adviser would work on one region in the portfolio. It is a two-year contract with an option to extend for a further two years. Royal Mail expects up to 40 bids by the deadline of 18 January.

Royal Mail joins several other institutions also looking for new advisers. Both the Competition Commission and the Department for Work and Pensions want property services firms to provide advice.

However, unlike Royal Mail, the organisations are not looking for advice on their own portfolios, rather to provide services for their clients.