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Tue 21 Aug 2012 05:22 PM

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Kuwait-linked bank buys $52m UK retail asset

Sharia-compliant Gatehouse Bank buys Debenhams building in Leeds city centre

Kuwait-linked bank buys $52m UK retail asset
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Gatehouse Bank, the UK subsidiary of Securities House Kuwait, said on Tuesday it is the new owner of the Debenhams department store in Leeds city centre in the north of England.

The sharia-compliant investment bank bought the 107,000 sq ft building for £33.4m ($52.6m) from accountancy firm KPMG, receiver to a failed Irish property company.

It is Gatehouse's second acquisition in the Yorkshire city after it bought the BT building in Sovereign Street for £40m in 2010.

Scott Nicol, vice president of real estate at Gatehouse Bank, said: “The property is in a particularly desirable area of the city centre, where both retail and real estate fundamentals are extremely strong.

“Major shopping centres such as Leeds are continuing to see high levels of demand, even in the face of a wider economic slowdown, and the prime retail market has remained remarkably resilient.

“These factors are all key for investors searching for high quality assets, and the Debenhams acquisition typifies our strategy of purchasing long income properties with well-established tenants and which deliver an attractive yield.”

The acquisition represents the bank’s first move into the retail sector.

Last month, Gatehouse said it had acquired a $92.7m commercial complex in Scotland.

The firm completed the multi-million pound acquisition of the Bridge View and Consort House in the northern Scottish city of Aberdeen and is forecast to provide an average annual cash return of 7.50 percent over a three year.

Last year, Gatehouse Bank bought a student accommodation property in Texas in a deal valued at around $50m.

The acquisition of the 265-unit College Station property takes the value of Gatehouse’s student accommodation portfolio to about $150m.

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