Fifty per cent stake in Norwich’s Chapelfield shopping centre sold for £148m

Intu Chapelfield in Norwich. A private equity firm has bought a 50% stake in the shopping centre for

Intu Chapelfield in Norwich. A private equity firm has bought a 50% stake in the shopping centre for £148m. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

A 50% stake of Norwich's Chapelfield shopping centre has been bought in a £148m deal.

Owner Intu has sold half of the mall to private equity firm LaSalle Investment Management as the two companies embark on a joint venture which will see Intu continue to run the site.

LaSalle has made the move on behalf of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and West Yorkshire Pension Fund.

The deal is in line with the December 2016 valuation of Chapelfield, which priced it at £296m, and a slight discount on the June 2017 estimate of £305m.

Net rental income for the shopping centre, which is home to stores including House of Fraser, Apple, River Island and Boots, was £15.5m.

Chapelfield has 90 retail units and attracts 12 million people each year.

Intu said the deal meant it was able to pay off debts as well as continue to invest in the group's development.

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David Fischel, Intu chief executive, said: 'We look forward to working with LaSalle Investment Management on intu Chapelfield which, since its opening in 2005, has firmly established itself as the prime retail destination in East Anglia.'

Tom Rose, fund manager at LaSalle, said: 'I am delighted with this investment that we have made on behalf of the Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire Pension Funds, and also to be partnering with Intu.

'This is an acquisition that we believe will provide long-term value.

'It is a quality asset in an affluent catchment area, well-aligned with our strategy for UK investments.'

What does the deal mean for Chapelfield?

Shoppers are unlikely to see a significant change after Intu's deal to sell a 50% stake in its Norwich Chapelfield shopping centre.

However, the cost of the deal shows confidence in the centre according to a commercial property expert.

Adrian Fennell, partner at Roche Chartered Surveyors, said: 'The deal is a way for Intu to diversify and probably a way to release cash to invest elsewhere.

'From a pension fund point of view it represents a known asset that is performing well and will continue to be managed by a professional operator in Intu. It should ensure the asset remains stable and continues to perform well in the medium to long-term.'

Mr Fennell said the 5% yield agreed was quite sharp with retail property normally going between 5.5% and 10% and in Norwich being around 6.5%.

'Paying 5% on something shows it is quite safe because you are not getting a high return on your capital,' he said.