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Premium Student Hostel With 630 Beds Sells for Sh1.48 Billion

Acorn Investment Management Ltd says the Qwetu Aberdare Heights II transaction reinforces Acorn's commitment to quality student housing

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The Acorn Student Accommodation Development REIT (ASA D-REIT), Acorn’s development vehicle for student housing, has sold its latest stabilised asset, Qwetu Aberdare Heights II, to the Acorn Student Accommodation Income REIT (ASA I-REIT) in a Ksh1.48 billion deal.

Through the sale, the ASA D-REIT will repay close to Ksh600 million of the Acorn Green Bond, bringing the total repayment to date on the Ksh5.7 billion bond programme to Ksh3 billion ahead of its maturity in November 2024.

>> 5,000-Unit Affordable Housing Project Gets Crucial Funding

The ASA I-REIT has acquired the 630-bed property located next to USIU and adjacent to Qwetu Aberdare Heights I, bringing the total number of assets acquired by the ASA I-REIT to four in the last three years. The number of properties in the ASA I-REIT now stands at seven, with a total bed portfolio of 4,450 beds.

Qwetu Aberdare Heights II exemplifies Acorn’s dedication to providing high-quality and affordable student accommodation, raising the total asset value of the ASA I-REIT to an impressive KES 10.5 billion. 

The ASA D-REIT, which is the development vehicle, has a total asset value of Ksh12 billion, with 12 projects under development, including Qwetu, Qejani Karen, and Chiromo. The Chiromo development with 2,700 beds is the last to be funded by the Green Bond projects and is the largest PBSA development in Africa. 

The combined ASA D-REIT and ASA I-REIT portfolio of operating beds and those under development is now about 20,000 beds at the end of 2023, making Acorn the largest Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) provider in Africa. 

The ASA D-REIT has also declared its first dividend payout of Ksh240 million to investors, achieving a dividend yield of 3.4%. This dividend is in line with the offer memorandum issued during the launch of the ASA D-REIT in 2021. 

>> Acorn Announces Sh6.7 Billion Financing Deal for Students Housing

Mr Mathew Maina, Acting Executive Director, Acorn Investment Management Limited said the Qwetu Aberdare Heights II transaction is yet another significant milestone for Acorn, reinforcing its commitment to providing quality student housing. “The track record of the ASA REITS since inception has demonstrated the resiliency of the sector and our business model as we continue to make our contribution to the economic growth of Kenya through this housing asset class,” Mr Main said.

He said payment of the first dividend by the ASA D-REIT is a significant boost to the returns of the investors who have placed their confidence in Acorn and this nascent asset class. “Given the strong pipeline of projects under development, the ASA D-REIT expects to pay dividends to investors annually going forward,” Mr Maina said.

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BILL YAURA
BILL YAURA
Bill Yaura is a Correspondent for Business Today. He can be reached on email: [email protected]
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