New property arm of Associated British Ports will explore opportunities in the East
A port operator which manages three East Anglian sites is planning big changes to its 2,372 acre land bank through its revamped £3.5bn property arm.
Associated British Ports (ABP) – which owns 21 UK ports including King’s Lynn, Lowestoft and Ipswich – has launched ABP Property to invest in and develop sites in “strategically significant” locations.
ABP Property owns sites in and around its parent company’s locations, with the capacity for up to 30 million sq ft of accommodation for new logistics, assembly, manufacturing and other business operations.
ABP’s property division operates an existing investment portfolio amounting to around £2bn.
The new property arm’s team will include developers and commercial agents and will be led by Huw Turner, group head of property at ABP.
“We have spent a significant amount of money in our East Anglian ports of late, building new facilities. It is a good example of how we are continuing to invest in our ports and property,” said Mr Turner.
“Whether our customers’ business is port related or not, the size of our estate will enable clients to grow and expand while remaining in the same location. At the same time, occupiers will have the opportunity to expand their reach with the creation of additional buildings across other port locations where land is available for development.”
He added: “Given the scale of our portfolio, there are opportunities at nearly all of our ports which can be progressed.”
ABP commercial director Jens Nielsen added: “ABP Property comprises a genuinely-significant land bank and we have put together an experienced team to ensure investors, occupiers and agents can fully-capitalise on the opportunities that this space offers.”
ABP, which made pre-tax profits of £144.9m in 2016, is investing £2.2m on the Ipswich port estate to reduce its carbon footprint and has spent £3.3m on new warehousing and a crane at the Port of King’s Lynn.
The formation of ABP Property forms a cornerstone of the group’s commercial strategy and comes amid a company-wide five-year £1bn investment plan.
Its most recently filed accounts said it was “undergoing a programme of system and process transformation” to improve efficiency.