LONDON, January 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Topland Group one of Europe's largest privately owned international investment groups has issued its latest Chairman's Statement.
Sol Zakay Executive Chairman and CEO said: "Last year was a particularly successful year for Topland driven by two enviable advantages possessed by Topland. We are very fortunate to be cash rich, and because we are a private company, with a strong entrepreneurial management team, we have been able to move quickly particularly in distressed areas of the market.
"A key highlight for our year has been a very successful fulfilment of our diversification strategy. We have traditionally been known for acquisitions of trophy real estate assets based on long income streams dependent on a small number of quality tenants. However we have now clearly demonstrated our acumen for shrewd investments and asset management across a variety of sectors. The Topland Group now has a very different profile which includes hotels, property lending, joint ventures, natural resources, solar energy, and venture capital in addition to property investment.
"I will pick out a few examples that flesh out further the diversification of the Group. Our recent acquisition of the Menzies hotels operating company which employs 1200 staff, is part of our intention to build a £1bn hotels business. It is a great platform for us to make further acquisitions . While our property lending business's loan book is now in excess £300m, we have provided a variety of funding structures across a range of sectors in the UK against a Gross Development Value of £750m. Our redeemed loans of over £100m have produced a return close to 20%.
"Our investment into natural resources is through a strategic partnership with Barclays with €1.1bn already invested in 14 global start-up businesses. We are also very interested in solar energy. We are a seed investor into a multi-functioned solar company which has produced significant profits and continues to expand. In addition Topland is now lending to other solar companies to facilitate construction of photovoltaic (PV) sites. We are also increasingly providing venture capital in a number of new and early stage companies in a variety of sectors.
"Of course we still remain heavily invested in real estate, where we invested close to £400m paying in cash. One interesting element has been we focused on high yielding short leases when few others were, and those values have already been considerably enhanced.
"Topland has also continued to drive high leasing activity within its portfolio and completed over 350,000 sq ft of lettings in 2013.
"As CoStar reported in its spotlight on Mall investment one of the highest net initial yields recorded this year, at 17%, belongs to Topland with its purchase of the 200,000 sq ft, Saddlers Centre in Walsall. At Saddlers alone Topland and its agency team have undertaken 28 individual deals in just 11 months.
"Topland is very proud to report it has an overall void rate of just 5.1%, an impressive statistic across its major holdings of 251 UK properties, 11,000,000 sq ft and 600 tenancies.
"Looking forward to 2014 we predict another very strong year for Topland with several major investments already lined up. We will continue to evolve as a multi-asset player, investing into our differing sectors of real estate, lending, joint ventures, venture capital, commodities and solar energy but we are also likely to research and invest in additional new profitable areas."
SOURCE Topland Group