CapitaLand Ascendas REIT Management Limited, as the manager of CapitaLand Ascendas REIT (CLAR), has announced the completion of the acquisition of a high-specification Tier III colocation data center facility in the United Kingdom for SGD 200 million ($147.49 million) from an unrelated global data center operator.

CapitaLand said in a statement Thursday that the property which is situated in Watford in North-West London, will allow the firm to capture growing demand for cloud and digital services in the United Kingdom and expands the firm’s data center footprint in Europe.

“As the demand for cloud and digital services continues to rise, we are capitalizing on favorable market dynamics to significantly scale up our presence in the data center sector,” said William Tay, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of CapitaLand Ascendas REIT Management.

According to him, London ranks among the top three global data center markets and is also Europe’s largest colocation data center market.

Thus, he sees this acquisition complements the firm’s data centers around London, deepening and boosting its data center investments in the United Kingdom by 54 percent to SGD 569.8 million ($419.93 million), as well as increasing the firm’s exposure in London to 96 percent of its investments in the United Kingdom.

“Given its strategic location and Tier III specifications, along with its robust tenancy, the property will serve as a strong catalyst in delivering additional value to the REIT,” he added.

He also expects the firm’s enlarged data center portfolio valued at SGD 1.5 billion ($1.11 billion) to contribute a continuous income stream towards the firm’s overall distribution per unit (DPU) growth.

Cited CBRE Research, CapitaLand said United Kingdom is Europe’s largest colocation data center market by total operational capacity.

It noted that nearly 80 percent of data center supply is concentrated around London, where major data center providers are located.

It said that London stands out as the most interconnected gateway city in the European market, as it boasts the highest number of fiber connectivity options in both the United Kingdom and Europe, making it an ideal location for peering traffic worldwide, low latencies, and network redundancies.

As such, it said London is highly sought-after by customers, particularly in the telecommunications, financial services and cloud services industries, for their cloud deployment.

As demand continues to grow, it said capacity is becoming increasingly scarce in Europe’s largest colocation data center market.

As a result, it said CBRE has projected that the vacancy rate (by megawatt power) in London will continue to decline to 15.9 percent in 2023 from 16.8 percent in 2022.

CapitaLand also said the property enjoys excellent connectivity to major transport hubs and is highly accessible from London.

It noted that North-West London is a hotspot for data center developers, providing an attractive option to the power-constrained and relatively high-cost central London region.

The acquisition, thus, presents a compelling opportunity to acquire a sought-after data center in Watford with available power and strong connectivity to meet the colocation requirements of enterprises and end-users in the area.

According to the statement, CLAR’s enlarged footprint in London further enhances its strategic presence in Europe’s Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin (FLAPD) markets.

Within Europe, approximately 93 percent of the firm’s data centers by asset under management (AUM) are located in the FLAPD markets.

In total, CLAR’s data center portfolio will be uplifted by about 15 percent to SGD 1.5 billion ($1.11 billion) in terms of AUM, comprising 63 percent in Europe and 37 percent in Singapore.

On a pro forma basis, assuming that the acquisition was completed on June 30, 2023, the proportion of data center properties will increase from about 7 percent to approximately 9 percent of CLAR’s total investment properties valued at SGD 17.2 billion ($12.68 billion).

It is noted that the new property is 80 percent occupied by five investment-grade tenants.

These tenants operate in various industries, including information and communications technology, retail, energy and financial services.

Three of the existing tenants have each been utilizing the property for more than ten years.

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