Cain, Fusion to create £1.5bn UK PBSA platform

Cain, Fusion to create £1.5bn UK PBSA platform

Cain International has established a new joint venture with Fusion Students, a student accommodation developer, to invest in purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) across popular UK university cities.

The joint venture partners already have assets under exclusivity in Portsmouth, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham and London totaling over 3,000 beds, and plan to create a portfolio worth circa. £1.5 billion comprising 7,500 to 10,000 beds.

The JV will be looking to make acquisitions across major university cities via the forward funding and forward purchase of new schemes both together and with other developers, with a focus on Russell Group universities and London.

Richard Pilkington, Senior Managing Director, Head of European Real Estate said: “The PBSA sector has proven robust over the course of the pandemic and with UCAS applications at an all-time high last year, this is only set to grow further as the value of a premium education retains its appeal. However, with increasingly stringent ESG criteria and expectations from students, we believe there is a significant opportunity to bring more high-quality products to an increasingly bifurcated and undersupplied market.

“We have been investing in residential property since Cain’s inception and our approach has always been to focus on cities we believe in and to work with partners we trust. We look forward to growing our footprint in the student accommodation sector with Fusion as our partner.”

Nigel Henry, co-founder of Fusion Students said: “This new joint venture with Cain is an important milestone for Fusion. Since 2013, we have secured more than 7,500 student beds in prime university cities throughout the UK, so this new joint venture is an exciting opportunity to build scale and double the size of our portfolio with a highly-regarded partner. We will target leading university cities that attract high levels of international students and are looking forward to working with Cain in the months and years ahead.”

Cain, co-founded and led by Jonathan Goldstein, already has significant expertise in PBSA through its real estate debt team, which has provided close to £200 million for the development of c.1,700 beds in Coventry, Cardiff, and Warwick.

The firm has additional exposure in the residential market with over 8,500 residential units completed or under development across global gateway cities including London, New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

Harris & Co advised Fusion Group and Cushman & Wakefield advised Cain International.