Keppel expects to acquire the remaining 50% stake in Aermont in 2028.
BN4 has entered into an agreement with Aermont Capital Group SCSp to acquire an initial 50% stake in European real estate manager Aermont Capital, with a full acquisition expected in 2028.
The consideration of up to $517 million for the initial 50% stake in Aermont, which can be funded through a combination of cash and treasury shares acquired through Keppel’s earlier share buyback programme, implies an attractive valuation of an approximately 13x enterprise value (EV) to ebitda ratio.
The acquisition of the initial 50% stake in Aermont is expected to be completed in 1H2024, subject to identified regulatory and other approvals. On completion, the transaction is expected to be immediately earnings accretive to Keppel.
It will bolster Keppel’s recurring income and funds under management (FUM), which is projected to grow to over $77 billion from the current $53 billion, with a minimal gearing impact of approximately one percentage point to the company’s net gearing on a pro forma basis.
Keppel believes the acquisition marks a pivotal step in its transformation to be a global asset manager and operator, giving the company a strong foothold in Europe — where Aermont’s geographic footprint and investment strategies complement Keppel’s capabilities with minimal overlaps — and significantly expanding its presence beyond Asia Pacific.
Established in 2007, Aermont is an independent asset management business focused on real estate and real estate-related investment activities across core Western European markets. In 2023, Private Equity Real Estate (PERE) ranked Aermont the highest among Europe-based real estate firms in terms of funds raised in the last five years.
As at June 30, Aermont had a total FUM of $24 billion across four active funds and a single asset vehicle, of which approximately $10 billion in equity commitments were raised in 2022, reflecting strong support from its limited partners (LPs).
With the support of Aermont’s experienced senior team, Keppel says the move will strengthen its value proposition to global LPs as its network of blue-chip LPs will be widened through Aermont’s long standing relationships with over 50 global clients.
Aermont’s investments have included assets and businesses in the office, student accommodation, workforce housing, luxury hospitality and production studio infrastructure sectors, among others. Through its funds, Aermont has generated an average realised 25% gross internal rate of return and 2.8x gross multiple on invested capital to date.
Keppel CEO Loh Chin Hua says: “The acquisition of an initial 50% stake in Aermont, with a pathway to an eventual 100% ownership and full integration, marks a major strategic step forward in Keppel’s ambition to be a global asset manager and operator, availing us of a highly attractive European platform with strong recurring fees and a premium network of global LPs.”
“Aermont Capital runs an established and highly successful asset management platform in Europe, raising the most capital among European real estate funds in the last five years, despite the Covid-19 pandemic,” adds Loh.
Meanwhile, Léon Bressler, chairman of Aermont Capital, says he is looking forward to building a close partnership between Keppel and Aermont. “Keppel offers something specific and compelling to our franchise; its technical and operating expertise are well-aligned to key megatrends such as the energy transition, digital transformation and urbanisation. For Aermont, access to that expertise will help us better capitalise on a number of technology driven opportunities. It will also open the door to new fund strategies, enabling us to eventually offer more to our LPs and to broaden the professional opportunity to our team.”
“Moreover, we will continue building on Aermont’s unique culture rooted in operational expertise, deep value creation and an LP-first approach, all of which Keppel shares. Teaming up with Keppel today therefore makes us stronger, more capable and better positioned, which will be to the benefit of all Aermont stakeholders,” Bressler adds.
Following the acquisition of the initial 50% stake, Keppel says it will focus on maintaining and supporting the success of Aermont’s real estate platform while working with Aermont’s team to jointly develop new fund products and initiatives, leveraging Keppel’s expertise in alternative assets such as private credit funds and data centres.
After the initial transition period, Keppel expects to proceed in 2028 to acquire the remaining 50% stake in Aermont subject to identified regulatory approvals. The performance-based deal structure, which can be funded through a mix of cash and treasury shares, will help achieve greater alignment between the interests of Aermont’s and Keppel’s interests over the long term, adds Keppel.
Shares in Keppel closed 9 cents higher or 1.42% up at $6.43 on Nov 29.