BARWOOD Capital, the Northampton-based UK regional investment and development specialist, has successfully raised £48m of equity for its Regional Property Growth Fund IV, putting it on track to achieve its target of £100m, with a hard cap at £150m.
Barwood Capital's fifth property fund launched in spring 2019 and is a five-year closed ended fund that will invest in UK regional property outside London, driven by significant ongoing changes in technology, infrastructure and demographics. With a target investor IRR of 13-15 per cent per annum, investors are also able to take advantage of opportunities for significant co-investment.
The Fund will focus on industrial, alternatives, selective offices and real estate opportunities benefiting from improved infrastructure investment. These will be in under-supplied key regional locations with good occupational demand, a need for investment and the potential for strong rental growth prospects.
Investors include high net worth individuals, family offices and Merseyside Pension Fund, which also invested in the Barwood Property 2017 Fund. A number of other investors are currently going through due diligence and further closes are expected in Q4 2019 and Q1 2020.
An industrial development opportunity in Sittingbourne, Kent, has already been secured and two further investments are under offer, including an industrial repositioning play and a care home with retirement living opportunity.
Jo Greenslade, founder and Director of Strategy & Funding at Barwood Capital, said: "Given the difficult political environment, we are delighted to have successfully achieved almost half our target raise within a few months of launching our new fund. Over 90 per cent of the investors in Growth Fund IV have invested in previous Barwood Capital property funds and their willingness to reinvest in our fifth property fund demonstrates their confidence in our strategy, people and pipeline and ultimately in our ability to deliver outstanding returns."
Hugh Elrington, Managing Director at Barwood Capital said: "Our investment strategy is to acquire sites, underperforming or obsolete property assets across the UK regions which have the potential for significant value to be added through planning, development and active asset management. We will focus on growing sectors and exploit the arbitrage between the value of under-managed secondary investments and prime income producing investments.
"We take a diversified portfolio approach, ensuring a spread of locations, sectors, development stages and income profiles. To have one project exchanged and two further under offer, demonstrates that already we have an identified and clear pipeline of opportunities in which to invest."
Barwood Capital was advised by Osborne Clarke.
IN a business district of Northampton, alongside an office revamp, the staff at a real estate investment business have had a big change introduced which means that sitting all day long at your desk is now a thing of the past.
Barwood Capital employs 20 people including investment directors, accounting, investor relations and administrative staff.
Having moved to Waterside Way on The Lakes business park, on the west side of town, just 19 months ago from Grange Park, Northampton, Barwood Capital has had a surge in recruitment and in just 16 months gone from 14 people to 20.
This meant that the previous desk configuration, where people sat in desks of four in pods, had to be re-evaluated.
And being property specialists, they were able to assess the best way to use their office space without having to expand and take more square footage.
They talked to RSR, the Milton Keynes-based company which helped to design their workspace.
RSR advised using adjustable desks known as Motion which can be operated by the user using buttons located on the side of the desk. At a touch of button, the desks can move up and down, quietly and easily. There were practical things to consider such as ensuring computer cables were long enough to go for the full range, and the desks require power.
But once they were installed, the benefits were clear, as Hugh Elrington, Managing Director at Barwood Capital, explained: "We were aware of studies supporting the use of a standing desk for your overall health and mood. For us, having a healthy, happy and supported workforce is key. By bringing in the new stand up desks, we were able to reconfigure the space into longer banks of desks that meant we could better incorporate the central pillars and make more room while encouraging energy and better wellbeing.
"We all move more. If you're standing at your desk, you feel more free to walk over to your colleague and chat. Some of us spend a lot of time commuting or visiting sites, so to be able to keep mobile when you're in the office is a bonus."
Initially, some staff members were sceptical of the new way of working, as Andrew Barlow, Investment Director said: "I had to be convinced! When you have worked one way for a long time, changing your habits can be tricky. But actually, the desks are a great idea and I'm converted.
"I find we all naturally stand-up more in the mornings and because the property team is often out and about visiting various sites, we aren't in the office all the time.
"Our accounting team, who are office based, have worked out their own patterns throughout their days to get a good mix of sitting and standing. If they are having to analyse data, sitting can often be easier so they are able to adjust depending on their workload. Certainly, the desks are far less intrusive than I initially thought and have become the norm."
The test is whether productivity has been boosted as a result of the desks?
A study, led by experts at the University of Leicester, found that 43 per cent of those who swapped their usual seat for a standing desk reported their performance had improved after a year. It also found that 52 per cent of those using standing desks felt more engaged at work after a year. The research was published in the British Medical Journal in 2018 and reported in The Telepgraph in October of 2018: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/10/standing-desks-will-improve-...
So will Barwood Capital remain standing? And will they recommend the Motion desks to other companies considering going down this route? It's a resounding and upstanding 'Yes'.
Visit Barwood Capital's new website. barwoodcapital.co.uk