South African investor eyes Bolton centre

Market Place shopping centre, part of the portfolio left behind following the collapse of Warner Estates in the summer, is reportedly close to being sold to Moorgarth for £24m, more than £5m above its asking price.

The 400,000 sq ft retail asset is being marketed by receivers at Deloitte. Warner's Agora fund paid £67m for the centre in 2002 and spent £40m refurbishing and extending it. The centre's 40 or so tenants include Debehams, H&M, Oasis and River Island.

The asking price of £19.5m would represent a net initial yield for investors of 9.55%. Moorgarth Asset Management is based in Leeds but ultimately controlled by South African retail tycoon Christo Wiese's Tradehold vehicle.

David Rainford, property finance director at Bolton-based chartered accounts Cowgill Holloway, said: "Whilst the yield looks full the 'value added' angles for what is both a substantial and core retail asset in Bolton makes commercial sense. If it goes through this would be great news for the town and an interesting barometer of an element of confidence returning to retail."

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