First Property Group commits £22m to UK offices

First Property Group will invest £22m in UK offices this year in the regions, Property Week can reveal.

The property fund manager and investor recently also raised a £30m special opportunities fund from two Oxford University and two Cambridge University colleges, the group’s chief executive, Ben Habib told PW.

He also said the group’s Shipbuilding Industries Pension Scheme existing mandates fund was enlarged to £170m from £125m last year, as the company found good opportunities.

“After Brexit, the markets reacted negatively and property prices dropped, so we asked our investors for more money to take advantage,” Habib said.

In its annual results, First Property reported a 24% growth in pretax profit, as total assets under management grew during the year ending 31 March to £477m from £313m earlier.

Pretax profits this year rose to £9.1m from £7.4m earlier. Revenues were also up to £23.7m from £22m the year before. The board recommended a final dividend of 1.15 pence a share.

“This has been a record year for First Property with profits up by a quarter. Furthermore, third party funds under management increased by 60% in value and we have additional mandates yet to be invested,” Habib added.

“In the UK in particular I believe the decision to leave the EU will create opportunities on which we, as a niche fund manager, will be well placed to capitalise. The establishment of our new UK Special Opportunities Fund in January is an example of this, and a reflection of our confidence in the UK market and the returns available to be earned.”

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