Hibernia delists from stock exchange as €1.1bn Brookfield deal closes

Kevin Nowlan, CEO of Hibernia Reit

Jon Ihle

Hibernia Reit has delisted from Euronext Dublin following the completion of its sale to Brookfield Asset Management, leaving just one remaining real estate investment trust on the Irish Stock Exchange.

The €1.1bn deal, which was announced in March, closed after trading hours on Friday and was notified to the market this morning, with shares cancelled effective from the start of business.

Shareholders in the property investment company, including founder and CEO Kevin Nowlan, will receive payments for their stakes by July 1.

Mr Nowlan, who is being retained in his role, is in line to receive about €13m from the transaction. His annual salary is more than €1m.

Hibernia’s entire board has resigned as part of the deal, to be replaced by a single representative of the Canadian investor group.

Toronto-based Brookfield, one of the world’s largest owners and operators of real estate, with more than $250bn of property assets, swooped in March to buy Hibernia.

The deal represented a near 36pc premium to the closing price of Hibernia’s shares before it was announced.

Shares in the Irish group had traded at a discount to net tangible assets for six years, making it an attractive takeover target.

Other Irish-listed Reits that were taken private for similar reasons in recent years include Green Reit and Yew Grove – like Hibernia, office Reits.

Ires Reit, an owner and operator of residential apartment buildings, is now the only one of the four Irish Reits to remain a publicly listed company.

Hibernia, the second Irish Reit after Green, was founded by Mr Nowlan and his father, Bill, after the government introduced changes to the law to facilitate them, providing generous tax incentives to spur investment.

The company floated on the stock market in 2013, raising an initial €365m.

Mr Nowlan was named chief executive of Hibernia in 2015 after the group internalised its investment manager, WK Nowlan Reit Management, where he was managing director.

The property firm produced strong returns for investors in its early years as Mr Nowlan, formerly a portfolio manager with Nama, focused on acquiring unloved properties with underrealised value.

Shares at one point traded 43pc above listing price in 2016, but the outperformance didn’t last and Irish Reits came to be undervalued in recent years as the easy wins in Ireland’s post-crash property market became harder to find.

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