- 12 October 2018
AMPERE Gestion, a subsidiary of CDC Habitat, and Swiss Life Asset Managers, Real Estate France, acting on behalf of five institutional investors, have announced an agreement to acquire 80% of Foncière Vesta from ICF Novedis, an SNCF subsidiary. Foncière Vesta currently owns a portfolio of 4,000 units of housing that give priority to SNCF employees. Rental management services will continue to be provided by ICF Novedis which will also keep a stake of 20% in the portfolio. The formal signature will take place over the next few days and the closing of the transaction is subject to approval by the European Commission.
Driven by a socially responsible investment approach, this project is focused on the following strategic priorities:
- investing in a quality portfolio, located near the main transportation hubs of major French cities;
- maintaining priority access for SNCF employees to Fonciere Vesta’s housing units;
- developing and enhancing housing facilities, particularly for public service workers in supply-constrained areas, in the Paris, Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) regions;
- a long-term partnership between SNCF, notably its subsidiary ICF Novedis, and a consortium of investors with shared values;
- the determination of ERAFP and IRCANTEC to guarantee the pensions of public service personnel and contractors through long-term secure investments.
The competitive bidding process launched in February 2018 by the SNCF Group and won by AMPERE Gestion and Swiss Life Asset Managers, Real Estate France, covered the sale of a majority 80% stake in Foncière Vesta, a 4,000-unit housing portfolio owned by ICF Novedis.
This majority stake will be acquired by a consortium of five institutional investors comprising ERAFP (French Public services supplementary pension scheme), lRCANTEC (supplementary retirement fund for fixed-term public-sector contractual employees), CDC Habitat, Swiss Life and VONOVIA, in accordance with the long-term partnership objectives defined at the outset by ICF Novedis and SNCF Group.
AMPERE Gestion and Swiss Life Asset Managers, Real Estate France are acting as joint asset managers to bring the members of the consortium together.
As part of this partnership, ICF Novedis will continue to provide Foncière Vesta with rental management services via a property administration agreement and a mandate to provide project management consultancy services.
The partners will get together on 16 October 2018 for the official signature of the agreement. The effective transfer of shares should take place by the end of 2018.
Cécile Queille, Chief Executive Officer of ICF Habitat Group: “We are delighted to be entering into this long-term partnership with investors who share our values. It will enable us to meet the housing requirements of mobile SNCF mangers more effectively”.
Catherine Vialonga, deputy CEO of ERAFP, is happy that ERAFP is the largest investor in the consortium: “This agreement reflects the commitment of our Board of Directors to socially responsible investment and diversification into housing – and in time, providing housing for public servants.”
Frédéric Bôl, Head of Real Estate France at Swiss Life Asset Managers: “This transaction is a first in the French housing sector and we are really happy to have been able to put together funding contributed primarily by the French public sector and longterm investors, alongside SNCF. The portfolio management strategy is underpinned by a shared vision of sustainable development.”
Vincent Mahé, General Counsel of CDC Habitat and CEO of AMPERE Gestion, said: “We are delighted to have acquired a majority share in this exceptional portfolio on behalf of AMPERE Gestion and CDC Habitat’s investor partners and to be engaging in a strategic partnership with SNCF.”
Mark Ennis, Head of Transactions at Vonovia: “We are glad to be part of this investment in a minority role together with our co-investors. Our investment role is combined with Vonovia’s participation in the governance structure, notably by having a seat on the decision-making bodies.”
As part of the sale process, SNCF has been advised by HSBC, Jones Lang Lasalle Capital Markets department, the legal firm of De Pardieu Brocas Maffei and the firm of Cheuvreux.
The consortium has been advised by BNP Paribas and Lazard banks and the legal firms of Arsene Taxand, Franklin, Gide Loyrette Nouel, Paul Hastings, Taylor Wessing and Weil Gotshal & Manges. The firms of Prud’homme & Baum, KL Associés and Notaires du Trocadéro have also been involved in this transaction.