DTZ to market Opal properties for PwC

Simon Donohue

PwC, joint administrators to a number of companies within the failed Opal Property Group, has appointed DTZ to market eight student accommodation blocks with an estimated value of between £250m and £300m.

The properties include Opal Court, Liverpool, and Phase 2 of Wilmslow Park, Manchester.

Toby Underwood, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: "Having stabilised the operating platform and occupancy of the properties, the administrators will, together with DTZ, undertake a timely but measured disposal of the properties, which will negate any perception that these assets are distressed and realise optimal value following the implementation of any appropriate asset management opportunities."

Andrew Smith, lead director at DTZ said: "This appointment recognises DTZ's strength in this area and the fact that we can bring additional insight and market awareness to the role of adviser."

Around 50 companies comprising the Manchester-based Opal Property Group were placed in administration with insolvency firms including PwC, Ernst & Young and KMPG in March.

Opal, the UK's biggest provider of student accommodation, collapsed with debts of £886m having failed to meet a March financing deadline.

Toby Underwood, David Kelly and Ian Green of PwC were appointed as joint administrators of Leeds Two Limited on 13 March 2013, as joint administrators of Birmingham One Limited, Opal Student Homes Limited, Tradefull Limited, Opal SPV 1 Limited and Opal Student Accommodation Limited on 14 March 2013 and as joint administrators of OSB Limited and Opal Greenwich 1 Limited.

The companies own eight student accommodation developments across the UK, providing 4,539 beds under the Opal brand.

The assets are: Opal 2, Leeds; Opal 1, Birmingham; Opal 1, Newport; Wilmslow Park, Phase 2 Manchester; Opal Court, Liverpool; Opal 3, Leeds; Bonington Halls; Opal 2, MacMillan Student Village.

The lenders involved include Alliance & Leicester, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Britannia Building Society, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Lloyds Banking Group, National Australia Bank, Nationwide Building Society, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Svenska Handelsbanken.

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