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Barwood and Delancey form UK industrial and logistics development joint venture to be called db symmetry

16 January 2015

Delancey, a specialist real estate investment, development and advisory company acting on behalf of clients, today announces it has formed a UK logistics development joint venture through the purchase of a 60% holding in Barwood Developments Limited (“BDL”), a leading UK logistics developer, with the remaining shareholding being retained by the existing Barwood management team. The new company will be re branded as db symmetry.

BDL’s existing portfolio comprises 1,330 acres of strategic land holdings with an expected development value of over £1.4 billion, which are expected to receive planning consent for over 20 million sqft of primarily logistics property over the next four years. In addition, BDL has seven other projects funded by third party investors. The portfolio is extremely well located being concentrated around the main motorway arteries of the UK and primarily around the ‘Golden Triangle’ of the M1 and M40.

Delancey has acquired the 60% stake as a strategic move to access the logistics sector which it sees as a growth area over the next decade. The sector currently exhibits extremely favourable supply and demand fundamentals driven by the seismic shift in retail habits, in particular the continued growth of online retailing and the increase in click and collect creating a significant requirement for urban logistics space and last mile delivery.

The creation of db symmetry provides Barwood with a strong partner and Delancey with access to BDL’s significant existing portfolio of logistics development opportunities. Under the terms of the transaction, Delancey has committed to provide further funds which will allow db symmetry to accelerate the bringing forward of the existing landbank and development portfolio. Delancey’s strategic investment will also allow db symmetry to grow through the acquisition of additional strategic land and development opportunities.

Barwood is a group of associated companies involved in the investment and development of commercial and residential property, as well as the promotion of unallocated land through the planning system. The remaining Barwood companies remain unchanged and it will be business as usual for them.

Led by Richard Bowen, who will continue as Managing Director of db symmetry, BDL was founded in 1996. It is run by a highly experienced management team, including Henry Chapman, Christian Matthews and Andrew Dickman who have an excellent track record in securing planning for over 7 million square feet of office and logistics space, and in the subsequent delivery of commercial property developments. Since foundation, the BDL team has invested over £500 million into the delivery of over 14 million sqft of commercial real estate development, of which around 9.6 million sqft has been in the Logistics sector. Recent pre lets include 115,000 sq ft to Prodrive at CM40 Banbury and 230,000 sq ft to Aston Martin at Wellesbourne.

BDL has a team of 9 real estate professionals which operate from offices in Northampton and Manchester, the latter having been established in 2012 to capitalise on the increasing logistics focus in the North of the UK. The team undertakes all land promotion, planning, financing and development management work to maximise efficiency and ensure projects remain focused and under their direct control.

The existing Barwood team will remain in place with the exception of the current chairman Alan Rudge, who will step down from BDL to focus on the other Barwood businesses, and Joanna Greenslade, BDL’s Finance Director, who will also step down from BDL and become Managing Director of Barwood Capital as well as maintaining her role on the Boards of the Barwood residential land and development businesses. The remaining Barwood businesses will continue as usual and are unaffected by this transaction.

Tim Haden-Scott, Investment director of Delancey said: “We are delighted to have formed this new JV with Barwood, and to be entering the logistics area, particularly at such an exciting period of change in the retail market. Alongside the Barwood shareholders and management, Delancey has strong ambitions for the new JV and we look forward to working together to maximise the potential of db symmetry and the existing first class management team and assets.”

Richard Bowen, Managing Director of db symmetry, said: “Having established a very successful track record of securing well located strategic land and promoting it through the planning system, as well as
the subsequent delivery of logistics and industrial development, the creation of db symmetry marks a significant step forward in the evolution of the business. The strategic investment by Delancey will provide db symmetry with access to significant amounts of equity which will allow us to accelerate the bringing forward of our substantial development portfolio. It also provides us with a strong partner to facilitate the acquisition of new projects from the pipeline of opportunities we have identified at a very opportune point in the cycle for logistics property, which is supported by favourable supply and demand dynamics that will allow us to deliver strong returns for our investors.”