First Close ASR Dutch Prime Retail Fund Oversubscribed

First closing of €380m vs. €300m target achieved in six months

Utrecht, 21 December 2011 - ASR Real Estate Investment Management (‘ASR REIM’), the real estate investment division of Dutch insurance company ASR, has completed the first closing of the ASR Dutch Prime Retail Fund (‘the Fund’), with subscribed capital of €380 million against a target of €300 million. ASR REIM launched the Fund in July, and completed the oversubscribed capital raise in just six months.

Jos Baeten, CEO at ASR: ‘I am proud that we managed to complete this closing so quickly in this difficult market. The sale of a portion of our real estate holdings serves two major strategic purposes for ASR. First of all, it brings our asset mix closer to Solvency-II optimal levels and more liquidity to our property portfolio. At the same time, we have been able to retain our exposure to some of the best performing assets in the Dutch retail investment market through our commitment as a long term and majority investor in the newly created fund. The success of this first close proves the trust established investors have in the portfolio and ASR REIM’s expertise.’

Institutional investors
Subscribers to the Fund comprise a number of institutional investors from across Europe. ASR REIM has also received additional indications of interest from other European investors. ASR, the original owner of the seed portfolio, also remains committed to the Fund as a long-term cornerstone investor.

Fund’s portfolio valued at approximately €1.1 billion
The new Fund is seeded by a diverse portfolio valued at approximately €1.1 billion, providing investors with immediate exposure to circa 210 prime Dutch retail real estate assets let to over 620 tenants. The portfolio consists of solitaire/single high street units, shopping centres and supermarkets covering a lettable area of over 300,000 sqm and also has a pipeline of attractive secured investment opportunities valued at approximately €300 million.

Dick Gort, director at ASR REIM: ‘Our ability to organise and oversubscribe this fund in just a few months is a strong endorsement for us and has accelerated the transition of ASR REIM into a fund management business. We currently manage a significant portfolio worth approximately €4 billion of retail, residential and office assets as well as agricultural property in the Netherlands. Over time, we intend to bring investment opportunities of a similar high quality to the market as we continue to deliver on our strategy of growing a strong real estate investment management business.’

The Fund’s structuring
The Fund is a contractual mutual fund, governed by Dutch law, with an indefinite life and will maintain a low level of gearing to provide liquidity for the fund manager and enable redemptions for investors where necessary. It has also been set up in line with INREV Guidelines to ensure best practice reporting and ongoing transparency for investors.

Mark Evans, Head of Equity Placement, CBRE Real Estate Finance: ’To have achieved a fundraising of this magnitude in such a short space of time in the current economic environment is testament to the quality of the portfolio and the strength of the fund’s structuring. With added upside built in from a pipeline of compelling development and asset management opportunities under ASR REIM’s stewardship, this strength of offering has not been seen in the market for some time.’

ASR REIM was advised by placement agent, CBRE Real Estate Finance. De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek provided legal advice and PWC acted as tax lawyer to the Fund.