Mapletree’s £1bn PBSA buy expands European network

Singapore-headquartered Mapletree Investments is paying about £1 billion for a European PBSA portfolio of more than 8,000 beds and an operating platform.

Student Castle Oxford.

Cuscaden Peak Investments, also based in Singapore and previously known as Singapore Press Holdings, is selling the 8,192 portfolio spread across 19 cities in the UK and Germany for S$1.7 billion (£1 billion).

The acquisition brings Mapletree’s UK portfolio to over 17,000 beds and the group said the deal solidifies its position as one of the largest owners of student housing assets in the UK. The newly acquired assets are located in key university cities in the UK including Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Oxford and York, as well as in Bremen, Germany.

The operating platform manages two brands, Student Castle and Capitol Students, and provides Mapletree with direct operational control of the newly acquired portfolio.

Student Castle Brighton.

“The acquisition is part of Mapletree’s strategy to grow the student accommodation sector in the UK, the US, Europe and Australia, which remain underserved by quality student housing assets,” said Mapletree’s group chief executive officer Hiew Yoon Khong. “The student housing sector is one of the Group’s core real estate focus areas due to its fundamental demand-supply imbalance and defensive characteristics. We will capitalise on the newly acquired operating platform to support our strategic vision of growing as well as enhancing our operational performance in the UK.”

Mapletree entered the student housing market in 2016 and has a global PBSA portfolio of 33,000 beds across 47 cities in the UK, US, Germany and Canada. Its total assets under management are S$6.2 billion. The group said it plans to continue to invest in the asset class and to develop both greenfield and brownfield projects.