Norwegians buy major stake in Meadowhall

Centre deal: Shoppers are flocking to Meadowhall and spending around 17 per cent more while they are there, according to independent figures.
Centre deal: Shoppers are flocking to Meadowhall and spending around 17 per cent more while they are there, according to independent figures.
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One of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds has taken a 50 per cent stake in the Meadowhall shopping complex and signed a new, joint venture agreement with co-owner British Land.

Norges Bank Investment Management, the investment manager for the Norwegian Government’s pension fund, is thought to have paid more than £750 million for the stake owned by London & Stamford Property and its joint venture partner, Green Park Investments.

London & Stamford and Green Park paid £587.7 million to acquire its stake three and a half years ago and says the price paid by Norges Bank values Meadowhall at £1.525 billion. That’s £11.2 million more than the value put on the shopping centre in March, but around £115 million less than the centre was valued at more than five years ago.

The new joint venture between Norges Bank Investment Management and British Land – the UK’s largest listed retail landlord – includes 74 acres of adjoining development land.

British Land will continue to manage the shopping centre.

Its chief executive, Chris Grigg, said, “We are delighted to be joining forces at Meadowhall with Norges. As one of our largest shareholders and a leading international investor, Norges is an ideal strategic partner for British Land.

“Norges’ investment is a measure of the outstanding quality of Meadowhall and we look forward to working with them to continue to develop its potential in the years to come.”

More than 24 million shoppers visit the 1.5 million sq ft of shops at Meadowhall every year.

The centre’s performance over the last two years has benefited from a targeted programme to widen its catchment area, attract more affluent consumers and extend the time people spend at the centre.

During the last year the average amount spent by each visitor has increased by 17 per cent, while spending on catering has increased by more than 30 per cent.

Footfall in the three months to June was up by more than 4 per cent, at a time when footfall for the UK as a whole fell by 2.4 per cent.