Aldar acquires UK property developer London Square for $291m

Deal is Abu Dhabi developer's first acquisition outside the Mena region and will enable it to expand in the UK

Aldar recently revealed a new strategy to enter into select international markets, with a particular focus on Europe. Photo: Aldar
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Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi’s biggest listed developer, has acquired UK developer London Square for Dh1.07 billion ($291 million), marking its first acquisition outside the Mena region as the company expands its geographical footprint.

The move is aimed at accelerating growth, diversifying revenue streams and driving cross-selling opportunities, the company said in a statement on Friday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

The deal will also provide Aldar with a "meaningful foothold" in the London property market.

“Our recently announced international expansion strategy centres on exploring opportunities to acquire or partner with established operating platforms in our target markets," said Talal Al Dhiyebi, group chief executive of Aldar Properties.

"The [acquisition of London Square], which is synergistic in nature, gives us the ability to leverage our mutual strengths, shared values and common approach to home building to scale London Square," he said.

Aldar, which is at the heart of Abu Dhabi’s efforts to develop its property sector, has been expanding its portfolio rapidly to boost growth.

The company reported record development sales of Dh7.8 billion in the third quarter of this year, with nine-month sales at their highest level of Dh19.4 billion and 11 new projects launched so far this year.

Aldar, which posted a 43 per cent annual increase in third-quarter profit to Dh794 million, also said at the time that it was to adopt a new strategy to enter into select international markets, with a particular focus on Europe.

Having expanded to regional markets including Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Egypt, the developer said it would aim to enter high-growth real estate sectors in mature markets.

The UK – and London, in particular – "remains a global hub and a strong real estate market, presenting an attractive entry point for Aldar", it said in the statement on Friday.

"There is significant value on offer with the market characterised by a structural undersupply of new homes, enabling Aldar to execute its long-term investment strategy for sustained value creation," it said.

House prices in the UK rose by 0.9 per cent in October compared with the previous month, mainly due to a drop in the supply of properties coming on to the market, the Nationwide Building Society said last month.

London Square, founded in 2010, has created a development pipeline worth more than £2 billion ($2.5 billion). It has completed more than 3,500 homes and has a pipeline of 930 homes under construction, valued at £425 million.

The developer, which works on regenerating former industrial sites, is behind projects including the London Square Nine Elms development that has more than 750 luxury homes, affordable housing, rental apartments and 21,500 square feet of commercial and retail space.

London Square also operates different segments across its business, including a sales division, a commercial arm, a build-to-rent division and an affordable housing unit.

The acquisition will enable London Square to "extend its presence across Greater London and the south-east", said Adam Lawrence, its founder and chief executive.

"We look forward to playing a leading role in tackling the housing shortage by providing more much-needed homes in the capital and surrounding areas where there is a continuing lack of supply," he said.

Updated: December 01, 2023, 4:42 AM