Asda, the supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart, the US retailer, could sell its global property development business in a deal that could fetch up to 400m. There are also rumours that Wal-Mart is looking to sell Asda as well.
The company told staff yesterday that it was looking for a buyer for Gazeley, an industrial developer, which will interest rivals such as San Francisco-based AMB and Australia’s Goodman International.
Gazeley is one of the largest industrial property developers in the UK and also operates in a number of other countries, including India, Mexico and China. It was acquired by Wal-Mart as part of its takeover of Asda in 1999.
Formed in 1987, the group operates as a standalone business, but also provides Wal-Mart and Asda with distribution and storage warehouses across the world.
Wal-Mart has picked a potentially difficult time in which to sell a property business, but Andy Bond, president and chief executive of Asda, said: “This is not a core business for us. We have previously had several unsolicited approaches for Gazeley and have now decided to review our strategic options, which might include a sale of the business.”
However, capital values have been in free-fall as fears have emerged over occupier demand. This, coupled with the greater difficulty in securing debt for the deal, means Asda is unlikely to secure a high price.
ProLogis, the US industrial developer, was linked with a bid for Gazeley two years ago. At the time, Asda said it had no interest in selling the company.
A significant part of the value of Gazeley will be its large undeveloped land bank, with more than 20 sites in the UK alone, and more across continental Europe and Asia.
Gazeley is the preferred developer of distribution space for Wal-Mart International, including Asda in the UK and Wal-Mart China. Wal-Mart is understood to be keen to sell the business with guarantees that ensure this strategic relationship continues, which would allow it first choice for prime sites in the future.
Pat McGillycuddy, chief executive of Gazeley, said: -We have produced consistent profit growth over the last five years and developed leased warehouses across Europe in 2007 with an investment value of 325m.
We have a successful business model and a strong management team that will add value to any new business partner.’
Wal-Mart wants to keep existing management in place following the sale if possible.
Businesses for Sale
Rotherhithe is arguably not one of the internationally more famous London neighbourhoods but anyone looking for property in London shouldnt overlook it. The area is situated on the south bank of the River Thames and all in all Rotherhithe property represents a slice of real London that is very much appreciated by the people who live and work there. The local estate agents are quick to point out many desirable neighbourhood attributes, such as a lower crime rate than many central London areas; schools within the top 25% of national league tables; and a plethora of excellent transport links. This article provides an overview of what you should expect from the better local estate agents in terms of the local property market.
As well as these generally desirable neighbourhood characteristics, many say that Rotherhithe is a hidden gem since its better quality property boasts some of the most generally sought after features for property in London as a whole. Within the capital, space is certainly at a premium yet homes in Rotherhithe can offer very generous living space coupled with high ceilings to create an even greater sense of space. You may see properties as large as 900 feet for a 2 bedroom, giving you plenty of space to live in, despite being in one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. As well as indoor space, youll often find innovative designs also allow you to enjoy the best of this renowned London riverside retreat.
The modern city garden has to be the terrace, whether on a roof or balcony, these have been steadily gaining popularity with Londoners for obvious and not so obvious reasons. Terraces have become part of the renaissance in city living success story of London in modern times, with more and more appearing to satisfy Londoners looking for private, quiet outdoor spaces. With lower maintenance than a fully fledged garden, they suit busy lifestyles and simply add a measurable value to any property in London. Rotherhithe property earns another plus point here, since the better estate agents will offer outside spaces with fantastic views of the most iconic river in the UK, the Thames herself. As if this werent enough though, the next feature to mention has to be services.
London is characterised by highly developed service industries, yet many people may associate luxury services with only the most well-heeled neighbourhoods right in the centre. Again, working with the better estate agents is a must here but its quite possible to find a home in Rotherhithe which comes with some rather exclusive services – at much more competitive prices. You might be offered a 24 hour concierge service – a service industry which has been truly appreciated by busy Londoners in recent years. There are also homes with private gyms, some of which offer jaccuzzis and even saunas. Some also offer swimming pools for their residents exclusive use.
Choose your estate agents very carefully – whilst all of these features can be found in the better Rotherhithe property, you are going to need a better agent to source them. The quality of property in London can be a something of a disappointment without a knowledgeable local expert on hand.