Aviva to lift property fund suspension in December
Aviva Investors has announced it will resume trading of its £1.5bn Property Trust on 15 December, having suspended the fund on 4 July to implement a “sustainable sales programme” in order to raise liquidity.
In a note sent to investors seen by InvestmentEurope, the asset manager said the trust has sold 11 properties totalling £212m between the EU referendum vote and 17 November 2016. The temporary suspension has allowed the company to be selective with its orderly sales programme, and ensure the retained portfolio remains “robust and well diversified”.
“There have been no forced sales, and we have focused on taking the right time to obtain the best value on sales, whilst retaining core assets and maintaining a balanced UK commercial property portfolio. Prices achieved have been broadly in line with market valuation changes since the EU referendum vote,” the note reads.
“The sales have been selected in line with our wider real estate strategy to focus on fewer centres, and values achieved have been broadly in line with market valuation changes since the EU referendum vote. We are confident that the trust holds a robust and diverse portfolio of properties; providing significant potential for growth, a strong income stream and the opportunity for further income growth,” Ed Casal, CEO of Aviva Investors Real Estate, said.
“Despite the recent uncertainty in the market, yields on property remain relatively attractive in a low interest rate environment. We believe there is a convincing place for the asset class within a balanced portfolio for long-term investors,” he added.
Fund co-manager retires
Aviva has also announced that Mike Luscombe, co-manager of the fund, will retire at the end of January. Following his departure, Andrew Hook, co-manager of the fund since March 2015, will assume the role of lead manager.
Hook joined Aviva in 2007 and has over 15 years’ industry experience.
“He has played a key role in the repositioning of the trust’s portfolio over the past year, and will be supported by a dedicated and experienced asset management team along with the newly-established UK transaction team, who between them help source, develop and manage the properties in the portfolio,” the note reads.