RBS narrows €1.2bn Project Achill shortlist to four

Royal Bank of Scotland has selected a shortlist of three private equity funds and one investment bank to progress to the second and final round for the nominally-valued €1.2bn Project Achill portfolio.

Ulster Bank logoCoStar News understands that Lone Star, Cerberus Capital Management, Oaktree Capital Management and Deutsche Bank have moved to the second round, following first round bids which were submitted on 1 August.

The four finalists are understood to have bid for the majority of Project Achill, which comprised 31 separate borrower connections over six subpools originally extended to Ulster Bank, an RBS subsidiary. 

In addition, there is understood to be progressing bids by underlying borrowers who are seeking to re-purchase their debt. 

Project Achill is comprised of more than 3.53m sq ft of commercial property assets and a further 1,565 residential units, 817 acres of land and 918 hotel rooms.

The underlying properties within Project Achill include:

  • Belfast’s upmarket The ARC Apartments with 207 units at Titanic Quarter and the 130,569 sq ft Gateway Offices, which is 90% leased to Citigroup to June 2024;
  • a loan secured by the Forge Shopping Centre in Glasgow; the Ards Shopping Centre in Newtownards, 10 miles east of Belfast; Waterfront Plaza in Belfast, anchored by PwC; and Mallusk Industrial Estate in Newtonabbey. 
  • a suburban Dublin office and retail portfolio over 118,669 sq ft, including 1-5 Leopardstown Retail Park and Unit 33 Sandyford Office Park.
  • the IBIS & Novotel Hotels in Friar Street, Reading; 
  • a Primark retail store at 62-74 Burleigh Street in Cambridge;
  • Russell & Bromley’s store in Princes Street, Edinburgh;
  • Independent House, Talbot Street in Dublin (which is home to the Irish Independent); 
  • Exchange House in Belfast;
  • Blackrock Business Park in Blackrock, Ireland;
  • 16 completed residential units in Skerries and Malahide; a 128-acre land site with planning permission in Kinsealy, Skerries and Bettytown; 25 Merrion Square, an office block in Dublin; and 15 houses in Barnageeragh;
  • a 16-strong mixed-use portfolio comprising residential, retail and office assets in Cork over 218,079 sq ft, with a 74.5% occupancy.

The 25 largest assets reflect 63.7% of Project Achill’s real estate value, with the next largest 25 assets taking the cumulative tally to 81.2%.

By sector, Project Achill’s composition is currently as follows: 

  • Residential investment properties, 25.0% (over 1,565 units)
  • Retail, 24.2% (over 1.35m sq ft)
  • Offices, 23.8% (over 821,309 sq ft)
  • Development land with planning permission, 10.5%
  • Hotels, 6.6% (918 hotel rooms)
  • Industrials, 4% (over 1.28m sq ft)
  • Other, including development and agricultural land, 5.4%

By real estate value, Project Achill is weighted: 

  • Dublin, 46.9%
  • Northern Ireland, 26.3%,
  • Rest of Republic of Ireland, 9.5%,
  • England, 9.3%,
  • Scotland, 7.6%
  • Other, 0.4%

CoStar News understands that second round biding bids on Project Achill, which is being sold by Eastdil Secured on behalf of RBS, have been called for Friday 19 September.


About CoStar News

Finance Editor, CoStar News
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