Harworth scoops £26m Knowsley estate

The listed developer has acquired Saturn Park, an industrial park in Merseyside comprising 416,000 sq ft of warehouses, in an off-market deal as it continues to grow its North West portfolio.

The value of the transaction was £26m, according to Harworth Group, and the vendor was undisclosed.

Saturn Park occupies 35.2 acres adjacent to Junction 4 of the M57 near Knowsley. It comprises three warehouse units with ancillary offices and 13.1 acres of open storage land, which together generate a passing rent of £2.14m per year, meaning the deal reflects a net initial yield of around 7.7%.

The site’s warehouse space is let to two tenants. These are Singleton Trading, a specialist toys importer and distributor, which occupies two units totalling around 317,600 sq ft, and pharmaceutical firm Relonchem, which occupies the third warehouse totalling 77,000 sq ft.

Four tenants occupy the majority of open storage land across five leases, while around 10,500 sq ft of the 22,000 sq ft of office space is let to the NHS.

The site has 5.25 years until the start of lease expiries, according to Harworth. The developer said in a filing to the London Stock Exchange that it intends to use its “significant asset management experience to drive further value at Saturn” – including undertaking refurbishment works and marketing the remaining vacant office space and land.

Harworth is also exploring the potential for further development on the 4.25 acres of vacant land on the estate, it added. Consultancy B8RE was the agent for the unnamed vendor, while Harworth was unrepresented.

Lynda Shillaw, chief executive of Harworth, said: “This off-market transaction is an excellent use of our significant financial headroom to further improve the resilience and depth of our investment portfolio, while also providing clear asset management opportunities to generate future value gains.

“The acquisition underlines our ongoing commitment to invest in the regions and with obvious synergies to the Port of Liverpool, it directly supports Government efforts to rebalance the UK economy.”

Richard Bousfield, head of income at Harworth, added: “In buying Saturn Business Park in a matter of weeks, we’ve again proved our ability to quickly transact and be a trusted counter-party for vendors.

“We remain firmly in the market for similar industrial property with asset management potential, and I look forward to completing further deals in due course.”

Bousfield was appointed in March to help boost Harworth’s in-house asset management capabilities and identifying high-yielding investments, as the company seeks to maximise capital values and rental income. Its existing portfolio generated £17.2m of income per year as of 30 June.

Last month, Harworth started building its last warehouse – a 51,000 sq ft unit – at its 250-acre Logistics North industrial park in Bolton, and targets completion in the second quarter of 2021.


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