It would be good to have cash I could unlock, I can hear people saying, but the headline I saw at the weekend was: – “Morrisons lines up sale of stores to unlock cash”. The article in the Sunday Telegraph was relevant not only to Morrisons but the wider property investment market at the moment.
Investment fund activity at the moment has a real focus on and a desire for commercial property investments so the prospect of sale and leasebacks coming out of one of the UK’s “big 4” food retailers excites the market.
The article said Morrisons are making plans for a potential capital injection of hundreds of millions of pounds by selling and leasing back some of its stores. A total portfolio value of circa £9bn is a legacy of the supermarket’s former Chief Executive Ken Morrison to “keep control” of company destiny by holding freehold property.
With Morrisons having vowed to rapidly expand its convenience or ‘C’ store offer and keep up its supermarket development programme they clearly think that it makes sense now to unlock cash through property sales.
Whilst we will certainly be monitoring the potential availability of investments in Morrison Supermarkets for clients we also advise other corporate clients on strategies to best balance their property portfolios. A mix of freehold or feuhold in Scotland and leasehold properties over large portfolios generally gives companies a flexibility and balance sheet benefits that they can usefully trade from.
If your company needs advice on ‘unlocking cash’ from your property holdings then one of the investment team would be delighted to sit down and analyse any portfolios and develop strategies for maximising returns.