Savills News

Round Hill Capital closes €200m Smart Studios acquisition – Savills advises

Round Hill Capital, a leading integrated global specialist real estate investor, developer and manager, today announced the official closing of a €200m acquisition of nine residences totalling 53,000 sqm from Smart Studios in the Portuguese PBSA and co-living sectors.

 The investment is the largest PBSA and co-living transaction in Portugal this year, adding a total of 2,013 beds to the Round Hill European Student Accommodation (“RHESA”) partnership, the European PBSA Joint Venture between CPP Investments and Round Hill Capital, to create a 5,000 bed portfolio in just under nine months.

The portfolio is mostly concentrated in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (88%) with one asset in Oporto (12%). Around 900 beds will already be operational this year under the Smart Studios brand across five residences, with the delivery of the remaining four buildings set to be completed between 2022-25. Plans for the portfolio will have a strong ESG focus to improve energy consumption and social wellbeing for its tenants.

Founded in 2015 by Ricardo Kendall, Smart Studios is one of the largest Portuguese developers and operators of purpose-built accommodation, offering an all-inclusive concept of living for students and young professionals. In 2018, with a view to sustain the ambitious growth of the company, the shareholders of Smart Studios started a strategic partnership with LX Partners, to develop companies with strong growth potential.

Portugal attracts a significant number of international students due to the education offer, low tuition fees and quality of life available to young professionals in cities such as Lisbon and Porto. The growing student community has revealed a gap between supply and demand in the PBSA sector, where accommodation is still largely non-institutional and features outdated facilities. This new investment is set to improve both the availability and quality of student accommodation to meet this growing demand.

Brian Welsh, Head of Student at Round Hill Capital commented: "This latest investment has accelerated our investment pipeline across major Iberian cities, reinforcing our leading role in building and investing in European accommodation solutions. Iberia continues to exhibit positive investment opportunities and the acquisition of Smart Studios reflects this. With the support of our integrated on-the-ground teams, we are confident we will continue to identify strong investment and development opportunities from PBSA and serviced apartments to senior living and co-living across the region in the near future."

Ricardo Kendall, Founder of Smart Studios added: “We are very pleased to have achieved such a great result of the sale process. We believe we have left Smart Studios in very good hands, with prestigious world class companies that are committed to the sector, and that intend to increase the offer and improve the quality of student accommodation with at least another 1,100 beds to be delivered in the next 3 years. I would like to express my gratitude to the Smart Studios team for their daily commitment to deliver such a great service to our clients and also thank the support of all those involved in the transaction.”

The €200m transaction was advised by PBBR, JLL and Deloitte on the buy side, with CBRE, Savills, Arcadis and Morais Leitao on the sell side.

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