AAIM Group, the property fund manager owned by Mark Tagliaferri, Robert Whitton and Stuart Le Gassick, has secured a significant tie-up with Peter Cummings’ Bank of Scotland Corporate division.
Bank of Scotland has acquired a 20% stake in AAIM and is committing £100m of equity for a £2bn European property fund. The same amount of equity is being provided by the AAIM management team and its investor club of wealthy individuals, which includes Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir David Frost.
With proposed gearing of 90%, Symmetry Property Fund aims to acquire a £2bn portfolio over the next two years with a minimum target internal rate of return of 15%.
Symmetry will buy property in western and eastern Europe, as well as the UK.
AAIM has completed £1bn of deals across Europe since it was founded in January 2003 and owns £400m of properties after a series of disposals in the UK this year.
AAIM initially bought bond-type properties - prime real estate let to investment-grade tenants on long indexed leases - in the UK, and they have benefited from a sharp drop in yields. AAIM is still investing in selected deals in the UK but its focus is now in continental European markets.
John Moran, head of joint ventures at Bank of Scotland, said: ‘The establishment of the Symmetry Fund allows AAIM to take another step forward as a real estate fund manager, and as a geared fund will allow Bank of Scotland to provide structured and tailored debt funding for underlying investment opportunities.’