Official Launch of the Acorn Student Accommodation REITs

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Acorn Holdings Ltd through  its subsidiary Acorn Investment  Management Limited (AIML)  has launched two Real Estate  Investment Trusts (REITs) that will give institutional  investors the  opportunity  to  get  into  the  lucrative  student  housing market.  The Acorn Student  Accommodation Development  REIT (ASA D~REIT)  and the  Acorn  Student  Accommodation  Income REIT (ASA  I-REIT)  are expected to give long-term investors a blended  return of 18% on a 10-year hold basis.

Speaking at the launch of the REITs, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani underscored the importance of diversified investment opportunities to Kenya’s economy. “Acorn’s proposal of a KES 30 billion investment  in rental housing for students  and young people over the next few years, will help drive and deepen investment  in the Nairobi Securities Exchange {NSE) and spur the emergence of other segregated funds.” Said CS Yatani.

The need for student  housing is  clear as Kenya has a median age of 18 years with 75% of the total  population being under 35 years old.  The country has approximately 550,000 students enrolled in universities against a bed capacity of 40,000 beds.

The government’s  preference in meeting  this deficit in housing, is to have the private sector come in and

make  the investment  while allowing universities to focus  on their core mandate  of tuition and research. This is the only way we believe we will be able to meet  the demand  innovatively, while ensuring that the available resources invested in our universities go towards core activities.”  Said CS Yatani.

British High Commissioner to  Kenya  Jane   Marriott   added;  “A/fordable housing  is vital in securing quality jobs and driving forward prosperity for all Kenyans.  Through this KES 1 billion investment,  the UK is proud to support President Kenyatta’s initiative to build affordable homes, giving nearly 10,000 Kenyan students the best chance to succeed.   This is just one small part of our economic partnership with Kenya, to mobilise more private investment  and help a clean and resilient economic recovery after CDVID-19.”

Edward Kirathe,  Acern Holdings Ltd CEO,  said  “Acorn is pleased to continue to develop our Kenyan Capital Markets  by bringing good  quality  asset-backed  and  regulated  issuances  that  have  attractive  returns, strong international  institutional  backing and the highest standards  of corporate governance.  The Acorn RE/Ts are once  again bringing a number  of new firsts to  our Capital Markets; first  Development  REIT globally, first Student Accommodation  RE/Ts in Africa and first issuance to list on the OTC segment  of the Nairobi Securities Exchange. We are very grateful for the support and confidence that  we have received from our anchor investor lnfraCo Africa, local pension schemes, fund  managers and insurance companies, who  have  invested  in the  two  Acorn RE/Ts. We are also grateful  to  the  CMA, RBA and  IRA for  their support.”

lnfraCo Africa’s  CEO,  Gilles Vaes noted,  “This subscription  marks  our first  investment   into  affordable housing,  and I am  delighted  to  take  this step  with  Acorn, a well-respected  developer  of  high-quality student  accommodation.    Expanding Acorn’s student  housing  offering  will support  Nairobi’s university students  to achieve their ambitions, underpinning Kenya’s future  economic development  under its “Big 411 agenda.  As the  anchor investor  in the  Acorn RE/Ts, our involvement   will also strengthen   local capital markets to support similar infrastructure initiatives in the future.”