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Trowers & Hamlins advises Bahrain bank on new investment in UK student accommodation market

Trowers & Hamlins advises Bahrain bank on new investment in UK student accommodation market

City law firm Trowers & Hamlins LLP has advised Bahrain-based Oasis Capital Bank BSC (c), on its innovative deal to acquire a 75% equity stake in a new joint venture formed with the UNITE Group plc, to develop three purpose built student accommodation facilities in London. The UNITE Group plc is the UK's leading developer and manager of student accommodation.

Trowers & Hamlins says that the deal is thought to be one of the first equity investments in the UK student accommodation market by any Middle Eastern bank.
Trowers & Hamlins explains that Oasis Capital Bank will invest circa £39m in the joint venture with the UNITE Group plc, which will develop, own and operate three new student accommodation facilities in London with an expected completion value of circa £194m and a total of 1,119 bed spaces.
Julianne Walshe, Partner, Trowers & Hamlins, comments: “The deal was significant because it was a Gulf-based bank which chose to invest equity in the joint venture with the UNITE Group plc rather than just providing debt facilities. Oasis Capital Bank will be an active investor by pooling its development management expertise with UNITE Group plc to develop the student accommodation facilities.”
“Oasis Capital Bank’s investment in London student accommodation facilities shows that there is an appetite in the Gulf region amongst experienced investors for lower risk UK-based “education solutions” type investments which are sensibly structured. The higher education and student accommodation sector has many counter cyclical attributes as global financial markets flatten.”
“This deal demonstrates an investment into an alternative accommodation sector which has been carefully structured and implemented by an overseas investor which understands the dynamics of the London student accommodation market. Speed to market was a key differentiator.”
Adds Julianne Walshe: “The 1,119 bed spaces are expected to be delivered by September 2010 with a significant element of the design utilising innovative modular pod construction methodology. The deal combines development profits and yield income for the partners.”
James Lyons, a Partner who led the Trowers & Hamlins team with Julianne Walshe, said “Trowers & Hamlins LLP is well known for its work in the residential project sector. We are delighted that Oasis Capital Bank turned to us to advise them on the legal due diligence and documentation aspects of the deal.”
The Trowers & Hamlins team was led by partners Julianne Walshe and James Lyons and included partner Paul Flood and solicitors Ian Dobinson, David Hughes, Natasha Halliday, Paul Bartter and Youssef Boulos.
Oasis Capital Bank BSC (c) has been a client of Trowers & Hamlins Bahrain office since the bank’s inception.
The UNITE Group plc were advised by Nabarro.