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Aberdeen and Tritax could consider European trust merger

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Aberdeen and Tritax could consider European trust merger after strategic deal
By Gavin LumsdenTheo Andrew 09 Dec, 2020 at 12:45

Aberdeen Standard Investments has expanded its reach in the booming area of warehouses and distribution depots by buying a 60% stake in Tritax Management, manager of the Tritax Big Box (BBOX) and Tritax Eurobox (EBOX) real estate investment trusts.

The move has raised the possibility of a future merger between Eurobox and ASI’s Aberdeen Standard European Logistics Income (ASLI) trust, although there was no official comment on that today.

Tritax management will lead ASI’s global real estate team but will report to its global head of real estate Neil Slater, who said the deal would help the group capture further growth in logistics properties spurred by the acceleration in online shopping by this year’s coronavirus pandemic…

According to Numis Securities, Aberdeen Standard will take full control of Tritax in six years’ time, with its key staff locked in by equity incentive schemes until then.

It says Tritax has also obtained right of first refusal on new property assets sourced by the enlarged real estate group.

Both the boards of the £2.7bn BBOX and £486m EBOX issued statements saying they were reassured there would be no changes to their fund management teams of Colin Godfrey and Frankie Whitehead at BBOX and Nick Preston at EBOX and that both would continue to operate autonomously under the Tritax brand…

Richard Williams, property analyst at QuotedData, said: ‘The announcement does pose the obvious question of a possible merger of ASLI and EuroBox in the future. Although the two companies have different investment strategies – EuroBox is focused on big box facilities and ASLI on smaller mid-box lot sizes – knocking the two funds together could be an interesting move.’

Merging would help to diversify the two portfolios and create a European logistics powerhouse with scale, he said.

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