Abacus Secures Slice of National Storage


The ASX-listed property investor Abacus has continued its focus on self storage sector, nabbing a further slice of National Storage.

Rival investor Abacus, which is already one of the biggest players in Australia's self storage market with a $1 billion self-storage portfolio, has now lifted its stake in National Storage to 7 per cent, a shareholder notice has revealed.

National Storage REIT has remained a fast-growing storage centre operator that has been busily acquiring centres across Australia and New Zealand since hitting the ASX in December 2013.

Over recent weeks Abacus has been chipping away at National Storage through Macquarie following the withdrawal of another potential suitor, US-based suitor Public Storage, which terminated takeover talks with the REIT.

There was also talks of muted interest from Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital and private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

▲ National Storage is the largest self-storage provider with a near $2 billion empire.
▲ National Storage is the largest self-storage provider with a near $2 billion empire.

The play follows an initial outlay by Abacus midway through last year which saw it capture 4.6 per cent of National Storage REIT's shares on issue.

To date Abacus, led by Steven Sewell, has outlaid $105 million in pursuit of National Storage as it continues to reweigh itself into self-storage and away from residential and retail.

Abacus, which has been in the sector since 2005, significantly ramped up its presence as a self storage operator last year when it acquired a 25 per cent stake in Storage King.

Late last year Abacus continued its spree, picking up four purpose-built Storage King facilities in Perth and Auckland, New Zealand, and one self-storage development site in Sydney for $57 million.

Its investment in self storage spread across Australia and New Zealand seems a shrewd one, collecting a 3 per cent increase in rental return and a revaluation gain over 2019.

The A-REIT’s balance sheet now contains 92 per cent office and self storage assets with 32 per cent of its assets geared towards self storage.

Earlier this month, National Storage announced an equity raising for $300 million—pegged for balance sheet strengthening, to replenish investment capacity and provide funding flexibility.

Abacus had been on the register but was cut out of the storage company’s raising and its recent share acquisition signals its desire to have more say over the company's future.

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