Last year Network Rail revealed that it would be searching for a buyer for its commercial estate properties which amounts roughly 5,500 properties across Great Britain. Network Rail has been looking to reduce its huge debt which reportedly could rise to about £53billion by 2019. It has been 3 years since they began a review process or their portfolio which has developed a huge interest with private investors due to the revenue the properties generate in rent each year.
Rail stations owned by Network Rail won’t be included in the auction however and most of the sites confirmed for sale are small business premises. With a lot of parties interested, it’s expected the sale could bring in around £1.2billion.
One of the interested parties is Guy Hands, who is a financier and investor and is most notable as the founder and chairman of Terra Firma Capital Partners which is one of the largest private equity firms in Europe. It is reported that Hands and Terra Firma is looking at a £1billion takeover of Network Rail’s commercial property, though in the past Guy has been responsible for making billions of pounds for his investors it will also be the first time he is seeking a general buyout fund since losing control of the record label EMI back in 2011.
In total there are thought to be more than 20 interested parties in the properties, many of whom may submit preliminary offers.