By Shane McGinley
Chairman of the lender, a subsidiary of Kuwait's GSH, said the bank is aiming for eight deals by end of 2010
London-based Gatehouse Bank, a subsidiary of Kuwait's Global Securities House, is aiming to complete its sixth real estate acquisition in the UK in the next few weeks, Arabian Business has learned.
“[In the] year to date we have done five transactions and we are planning on hopefully closing another one in the next few weeks,” said Fahed Boodai, co-founder and chairman of Gatehouse Bank.
The sharia-compliant lender has invested £150m ($239m) in UK property deals this year and expects to close eight deals in total by the end of 2010.
Gatehouse’s most recent buy was a university student accommodation building in Oxford, a transaction valued at £29m ($45.9m). The purchase followed similar deals for properties in the university cities of Loughborough and Liverpool in April.
Commenting on the bank’s existing deals, Boodai said: “They have all performed beautifully.”
Half of the investors that backed the Oxford deal were repeat customers from the bank’s first three deals, Boodai said.
Gatehouse was established in May 2007 and has been authorised to operate in London by the UK Financial Services Authority since April 2008.
Boodai said the UK real estate market is still undergoing “some turbulence,” but said Gatehouse has identified the markets of student accommodation, long-term lease office space and healthcare as offering the best returns.
However, Boodai admitted that raising finance for real estate deals was now a lot harder than it was during the boom years.
“It is not an easy task to get people to invest in this region after what has happened. I would say that anybody that raises a million pounds in this market it is like raising tenfold of that in the older days,” he said.
Of the £150m worth of assets that Gatehouse has acquired so far this year, Boodai said his team has considered more than 70 different properties, worth a total of more than £1.5bn.
“It is really being picky and cherry-picking what works and we continue to do that,” he says.