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Proven REIT, JMMB partner on commercial property acquisition

Published:Tuesday | November 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder/ Business Reporter
Aisha Campbell, CEO of Proven REIT. File

Proven REIT and JMMB Fund Managers, companies owned by rival financial firms, have come together to acquire a commercial property, spanning 58,000 square feet of space, at the Portmore Pines Shopping Complex in Greater Portmore, St Catherine.

The acquisition was structured and arranged by JMMB Group through its capital markets unit.

Proven REIT CEO Aisha Campbell said JMMB acted in two capacities, both as arranger and investor, but said the ownership split would not be disclosed.

"JMMB put together a deal on behalf of the owner of the building. Proven and JMMB Pension Fund came together for the purchase," said Campbell. "Once that deal has gone through, it will be leased back to current tenants and the income will be shared along the same proportion of the investment," she said.

JMMB said Tuesday that it has been pursuing such partnerships and transactions, and that its Capital Markets Unit had raised in excess of $39 billion on behalf of clients, since January, using a range of transaction structures such as bonds; preference shares, initial public offerings, mezzanine debt, private equity. and mergers.


Acquisition cost not disclosed


The price paid for the Portmore Pines acquisition was not disclosed, which the partners said was meant to maintain client confidentiality, nor its expected income. However, the partners said they expected to collect rental income in both US and Jamaican dollars.

The property acquired was said to have multiple owners, but the seller or sellers were not disclosed.

The current tenants at Portmore Pines include: business process outsourcing operator IBEX Global Jamaica Limited, Sangster's Book Store, general insurer ICWI, Electroville, Fruitalicious Frozen Yoghurt, and The Shoe Store.

Karl Townsend, chief country officer for the JMMB Capital Markets Unit in Jamaica, said the sale, with the existing lease structure, "provides an efficient way for investors to participate in the common ownership of high value real estate".

This type of partnership arrange-ment is a new frontier for Proven REIT.

"Since the six years of our existence, this is the first time Proven REIT is using this partnership structure to acquire commercial investment property. Our primary investment and developments projects have been residential," Campbell said.

"PREIT continuously assesses the market for real estate opportunities, and this transaction met the investment and strategic performance criteria to expand our commercial investment portfolio to satisfy our business strategies and present the desired real estate diversification returns for our stakeholders. We viewed JMMB Fund Managers as a reputable partner who we would be able to align with, around common goals," she said.

Campbell added that Proven will be seeking out other commercial properties in urban centres that, like Portmore, have strong retail markets - aimed geographically at diversifying the company's real estate portfolio.

The partners are planning upgrades to the Portmore Pines complex, but said those plans are to be finalised.