Catalyst Capital has emerged as the preferred bidder for one of the UK’s most coveted portfolios
The investment and asset management group has been chosen as the frontrunner for Evans Property Group’s £400m north-of-England industrial-led portfolio.
Catalyst and its unknown partner is believed to have been picked on Wednesday ahead of four other bidders from a second round of bidding the day before.
The selection of Catalyst brings the curtain down on a two-month bidding saga for the portfolio, which extends to around 6m sq ft of existing and proposed property.
The deadline for the first round of bidding was earlier this month.
The portfolio is also believed to have interested US industrial specialist AMB Property Corporation, which has been seeking an entry into the UK market for some months.
Evans, which is headed by chairman Michael Evans, surprised the market when it signalled its intention to sell the portfolio because it had always been a long-term holder of assets.
The portfolio comprises 275 buildings in 11 industrial estates, five industrial units and 12 office buildings, including the 44,000 sq ft Dale House in Stockport and 25,000 sq ft Victoria Park House in Stafford.
It also has 130 acres of developable industrial land at Fradley Park in Lichfield, which is regarded as the jewel in the portfolio.
But the portfolio also carries with it an expensive debenture. This long-term £100m bond requires the owner of the portfolio to pay 11% interest to the bond holders and does not expire until October 2025.
Refinancing the debenture will be key to how profitable the portfolio is for Catalyst.
Jones Lang Lasalle is advising Evans Property Group. None of the parties involved would comment.