First Property sets up £180mln fund to capitalise on Brexit vote slowdown opportunities in commercial property

The firm said the Fprop Offices LP fund – which has a term of seven years - closed its first round of funding on 14 July with equity commitments of £182mln

Recurring revenues underpin record year for First Property

Record profits for property fund manager are clear evidence that focus on sustainable income streams is paying off, chief executive Ben Habib tells Proactive Investors.

First Property notches up record profits

The weakness of sterling against the euro added a layer of extra polish to profits

First Property's Ben Habib 'very pleased' to hang on as league-leading fund manager

Ben Habib, chief executive of First Property Group PLC ( LON:FPO) tells Proactive's Andrew Scott they've retained their position as the best performing fund manager versus MSCI's Central and Eastern European (CEE) Benchmark.

The property fund manager and investor has been in pole position now for eleven years in Morgan Stanley Capital International’s (MSCI) rankings in this category.

First Property keeps its winning streak going in MSCI rankings

The new follows the announcement that First Property's UK Pension Property Portfolio LP was recently awarded best "Small Specialist Fund" by MSCI
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Investors Chronicle: On the upgrade trail
Simon Thompson writes “…scope for earnings multiple expansion and upgrades…to drive the share price…the risk:reward ratio remains skewed to the upside…given the obvious potential for earnings upgrades, I now rate them a buy at 56p and have a new target price of 65p.”
Evening Standard: I hope Habib is right
Jim Armitage writes “Habib’s bet is based on two related assumptions: that Britain’s economy won’t suffer from leaving the EU; and that the big developers are wrong to be running for the hills.”
IP Real Estate: UK pension schemes invest in First Property fund to capitalise on Brexit
… The asset manager said it had now raised some £250m of equity commitments from third parties since the UK referendum in June last year – partly to take advantage of the slowdown in the UK commercial property market.
Property Week: First Property launches £182m English office fund
First Property Group has established a new seven-year term fund with eight institutional investors to invest in office blocks and business parks across England.
Investors Chronicle: Small cap gems
Simon Thompson once again backs First Property in his list of ‘Small-cap gems’ and advises investors to run profits.
Interactive Investor:10 exciting small-cap shares the analysts have missed
Using Stockopedia tools, Ben Hobson ran a screen for AIM stocks with low broker coverage, above-average earnings growth and below-average industry valuations on a price-to-earnings basis, which identified First Property Group.
Motley Fool: Managing plenty of growth
Ian Pierce notes that “High growth potential and bargain valuation are rarely terms used to describe the same company…but with an increasingly healthy balance sheet, a decent 2.8% dividend yield and fair valuation I’ll definitely be taking a closer look at First Property Group in the coming quarters.”
All Street Research - Business insights from Small Cap Leaders (May 2017)
The report…“takes the lid off 50 of the companies driving the new and old productive economy…It samples and distils the views of 50 dynamic business leaders on economic value.” First Property Group is profiled on page 68.
Shares Magazine - First Property is greedy when others are fearful
“…at 51p the shares look an interesting prospect…”
Investors Chronicle: Primed for an earnings beat
Simon Thompson reiterates his buy recommendation saying 'I feel that my 56p target price is not only achievable, but likely to be surpassed.'
AIM Journal (March edition, p7): First Property investments yield NAV increase
A good precis on the investment case by Andrew Hore, including the prospects for dividend growth.
Investors Chronicle: Engineering reratings
"Simon Thompson reiterates his buy recommendation and comments on further operational progress, pointing out house broker Arden Partners upgrade to forecast earnings. He states his price target of 56p now "looks conservative".
Investors Chronicle - A quartet of small-cap value plays
“…trading on a modest premium to book value, rated on less than 9x EPS estimates of 5.6p, falling to only 8x EPS estimates for the year to March 2018, and offering a 3.2% prospective dividend yield based on a forecast payout of 1.55p per share, First Property’s shares still rate a great buy in my view and with further upgrade earnings potential in the price for free. Buy.”
Investors Chronicle - exploiting strong foreign exchange tailwinds
Simon Thompson says “Investors have yet to fully factor in (house broker Arden’s) massive earnings upgrade…(which is) solely based on rental income from the current portfolio and fund management fees on existing mandates, so the forecast risk is skewed to the upside.” He rates the shares a strong buy and believe his 56p price target could prove conservative. 
Proactive Investors - First Property's attractive divi comfortably covered by recurring earnings
"The quality of our earnings has continued to improve with very nearly all our profits being earned from activities of a recurring nature,” said CEO Ben Habib.
Investors Chronicle - High Fives - First Property major contract win
Simon Thompson reiterates his buy recommendation with a price target of 56p
IP Real Estate - BAE Shipbuilding Industries adds £45m to First Property commitment
“The scheme boosted its commitment to UK real estate via First Property Asset Management, from an initial £125, to £170m.”
Investors Chronicle - Anomalously priced fund managers
Simon Thompson summarises: ‘Rated on a discount to spot net asset value, trading on just 8 times forward earnings…, and with significant upgrades highly likely in eight weeks’ time, the investment case is very solid. In the circumstances, I rate First Property’s shares a strong buy…ahead of November’s interim results and my initial target price is 56p, coinciding with the all-time high dating back to the end of last year. Buy.’
Investors Chronicle - Exploiting sterling weakness
Simon Thompson feels “there is a major valuation anomaly to be exploited in the AIM traded shares of Eastern European property fund manager, First Property Group.” He rates the shares a strong buy with an initial target price of 56p.
Proactive Investors - Brexit holds no fear for First Property boss Habib
“…He sees the current market instability post the UK vote to leave the EU as a big opportunity for a small firm like First Property, and means (for currency reasons) an immediate injection of profits in the short term and later, a chance to buy more UK assets, while prices are under pressure (cheaper).
Longer term is also looking good for the UK market, he reckons…”
IP Real Estate - Uncertainty peaks
Ben Habib, chief executive of First Property, is one of the few in the UK’s real estate sector to argue that a “Brexit” would be positive for both the property market and Britain as a whole. “Any volatility would only be an opportunity for small, opportunistic companies such as First Property,” he said.
Investors Chronicle - head east for profit
Simon Thompson reiterates his price target of 56p, citing “the potential for further value creation is not being factored into the current valuation. Nor is the fact that 95 per cent of the current year £21.9m revenue forecast is recurring, so offering a high degree of certainty in those estimates. The market is also failing to acknowledge the impressive track record of the company. There are not too many investments that can generate such a high sustainable return, nor have potential to continue to do so, irrespective of whether the UK stays or remains a part of the EU.”
Investors Chronicle - First Property sell-off buying opportunity
Simon Thompson reiterates his buy recommendation, noting “…that investors are being overly cautious in their valuation and assessment of First Property’s future prospects. Offering 40 per cent share price upside to my target price of 56p, I would be a buyer of the shares ahead of the forthcoming results.”
Investors Chronicle - New highs beckon
...having first recommended buying First Property's shares at 18.5p in 2011...Simon Thompson feels that the odds continue to favour a move to the upside to his raised target price of 56p. Trading on only 1.25 times historic book value, he rates First Property’s shares a buy on a bid-offer spread of 49p to 50p.
Investors Champion - Consistent performer still looking good
Michael Crockett notes that “This small property group has been one of AIM’s most consistent performing shares over the last few years” and considers whether its “good run” can continue.
Investors Chronicle - Maintaining a strong pole position
Simon Thompson reiterates his buy recommendation: “Trading on less than 1.2 times adjusted book value of 40p, rated on 10 times earnings estimates and offering a dividend yield in excess of 3 per cent, I now rate First Property's shares a trading buy with a target price of 56p.”
IP Real Estate - First Property takes consortium into Polish retail sector a new shopping centre in Swinoujscie, northern Poland, acquired at a total cost of €24.08m.
IP Real Estate - First Property extends UK real estate fund with pension-fund backing
...the limited partners in its UK Pension Property Portfolio vehicle, which is generating a 6.5% annual dividend yield without the use of leverage, agreed to extend the fund’s life by five years.
Investors Chronicle - Maintaining a pole position

Simon Thompson recommends investors “run profits” despite the share price having exceeded his price target of 49p, explaining that “the shares are still only rated on a little over 10 times earnings estimates and offer a prospective dividend yield of 2.8 per cent.” He sees “potential for more earnings-accretive acquisitions given that First Property will have £13m of cash available to invest once the Lidl properties are refinanced.”

Investors Chronicle - Investing for bumper gains
Simon Thompson explains his rationale for tipping First Property Group, describing it as “a classic value share with solid asset backing, decent cash generation to provide shareholders with a sustainable dividend and the board with funds to invest wisely, and potential for solid profit growth to drive an earnings multiple expansion.” He can “see potential for more upside too because with directly owned properties providing a solid recurring income stream to support the dividend, cash available for earnings accretive acquisitions, and mandate wins starting to build up new income streams, its prospects look well underpinned.”
Property Funds World - Extension of Permitted Development rights to be applauded
Comment from Ben Habib, Fprop CEO, following the news that the Government intends to make the temporary extension of permitted development rights (PDR) permanent with respect to the conversion of offices to residential use.
Investors Chronicle - In pole position for a re-rating

Simon Thompson reiterates his buy recommendation with a target price of 49p.

Proactive Investors - First Property strategy paying dividends - literally
First Property Group’s prelims last month revealed a period of significant progress...
Investors Chronicle - Bargain Shares updates by Simon Thompson
Run profits at 45p.
Investors Chronicle - First Property keeps shining
“It may be tempting to bank profits, but with the shares on 10 times 2016 forecast earnings and yielding over 3 per cent, we believe the market still hasn’t fully appraised the reliable returns generated by this well-run little group. Buy.”
Investors Chronicle - Running bumper profits
Simon Thompson recommends continuing to “run bumper profits” as Fprop shares still only trade on 9x recurring net earnings, with a realistic chance of earnings upgrades as this year progresses, and are underpinned by a decent dividend yield.
City AM - We can ramp up housebuilding by turning offices into flats - if the planners let us
Guest columnist, Ben Habib, calls on the next government to enact permanent legislation to break the stranglehold of our turgid planning system.
IP Real Estate - Pension funds move quickly on residential conversions
Richard Lowe comments on Fprop's partnership with Towers Watson to convert offices to residential use which delivered a 53% return on equity for its investors.
Investors Chronicle - A quartet of small-cap buys
Simon Thompson updates his medium-term price target to 38-40p and reiterates his buy recommendation, first tipped at 18.5p in his 2011 'Bargain Shares' portfolio.
CoStar - First Property urges PDR extension
CoStar summarises Fprop's statement re: Permitted Development Rights (PDR) in response to Eric Pickle's Planning Update to Parliament published on 25 Mar 2015.
PERE - Towers Watson maiden JV yields stellar return
Towers Watson registers stellar return from its investment with First Property Group.
Investors Chronicle - Shares for Income
Investors Chronicle reviews the case for investing in equities for dividend income, citing First Property Group plc as one of its “favourite dividend shares”.
Investors Chronicle - Punching above its weight
Simon Thompson repeats his buy advice on First Property Group plc shares.
Pensions Expert - Shipbuilding scheme sails towards 10% property allocation
Tom Dines comments on SIPS increased investment commitment with First Property Group.
IP Real Estate - First Property Group awarded BAE pension fund mandate
Russell Handy comments on Fprop's new fund management mandate from BAE’s Shipbuilding Industries Pension Scheme (SIPS).
Shares Magazine - New Year Crib Sheets
Shares Magazine has screened for companies on a price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 0.6 or more and First Property Group stands out as the only company on the list to have both a low PEG ratio and a low price to earnings (PE) ratio.
Investors Chronicle - Buy into an Earnings Upgrade
Simon Thompson continues to rate the shares a decent income buy with capital upside and reiterates his upgraded target share price range of 38p to 40p.
Investors Chronicle - Income stocks with capital upside
Simon Thompson upgrades his price target to 38-40p per share and “continues to rate the shares a decent income buy”.
Investors Chronicle - Polish boost for First Property
IC reiterates its long standing buy recommendation on grounds of both earnings prospects and valuation.
Alliance News Interview: First Property Wary Of Political Risks, Says CEO
Ben Habib speaks with Samuel Agini of Alliance News following the release of Fprop's Interim Results.
PERE - AIFM Directive becomes reality
Private Equity Real Estate (PERE) magazine reports that First Property Asset Management Ltd is among the first 35 real estate fund managers from across Europe to be granted a licence under the new Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), fewer than expected with the deadline for compliance looming on 22 July.
Investors Chronicle - A Shrewd Value and Income Play
Simon Thompson reviews his past buy recommendations on First Property Group plc shares and continues to rate them "a decent income buy" adding that his "price target of 35p could yet prove conservative".
Portfolio Institutional - Safe as houses, the return of real estate
Padraig Floyd discusses changes in the commercial property market, in particular government efforts to institutionalise the residential sector in the UK. He refers to recent planning law changes which ease the conversion of offices to residential use, citing Fprop CEO & CIO Ben Habib who regards it as “frankly the best planning policy I have seen in my career.”
Property Magazine International - Strong start to year for Polish investment market
Total volume of transactions in the Polish investment market in Q1 came in at €939 million, including the acquisition by First Property Group of Galeria Ostrowiec. Total volume for the year is expected to match or exceed that transacted in 2013.
Investors Chronicle - Smashing target prices
Simon Thompson retains his “buy” recommendation on First Property Group following its shares hitting his price target of 30p and upgrades his target price to 35p.
Investors Chronicle - AIM shares for your ISA
Investors Chronicle recommends "60 Fresh ISA Ideas", including 10 AIM shares. First Property Group plc represents IC's top AIM pick for income (out of 2).
Investors Chronicle - Hot Property
Simon Thompson revisits his past recommendations to buy First Property Group plc shares and concludes "...I continue to rate First Property a decent medium-term buy on a bid-offer spread of 24p to 25p ahead of the April pre-close trading statement."
Investors Chronicle - Review of its Tips of the Year for 2013
Investors Chronicle reviews its eight tips of the year for 2013 of which First Property Group plc was its AIM tip.
Proactive Investors - Fprop looking to cash in on offices-to-residences trend
by John Harrington, following release of Interim Results.
Investors Chronicle: First Property turns to housing developments
by Stephen Wilmot. "Business is picking up for our Aim Tip of the Year First Property Group (FPO), an Aim-traded real-estate fund manager..."
Investors Chronicle - Hot property plays
Simon Thomson upgrades his price target from 27.5 pence to 29.5 pence.
Investors Chronicle: On rock solid foundations
by Simon Thompson
Investors Chronicle - The ideal AIM portfolio
Ten page article by Graeme Davies and the IC Companies team in which First Property Group shares are tipped as one of six "income picks".
Investors Chronicle - Shares with hidden value
Simon Thompson tips First Property Group plc shares.
Money Week - "How to find 10% yields on property"
Tom Bulford tips First Property Group plc shares.
Investors Chronicle - First Property Group bides its time.
Update by Stephen Wilmot.
Reuters: London property no longer looks so safe
by Tom Bill..."I cannot help but conclude that London is in bubble territory," said Ben Habib, Chief Executive of First Property Group, which owns British and Polish real estate.
Investors Chronicle - First Property's Prospects
Stephen Wilmot tips First Property Group plc as his AIM stock of the year for 2013.
ADVFN: First Property - A Pre Results buy?
Tom Winnifrith updates his long standing (since May 2008) stock tip on First Property Group plc and retains his buy recomendation on the grounds that it is both an income play and a long term asset play.
This is money (MidasEXTRA share tips) - Property investor rewarded for shrewd move east
Joanne Hart tips First Property Group plc shares in 'Midas Extra Share Tips'.
Investors Chronicle - Hidden Value
Simon Thompson revisits his 2011 Bargain Share portfolio and says that "First Property Group has yet to enjoy the re-rating it rightly deserves but offers investors a decent entry point at the current price of 18p."
PIE: Gear shift to stability as Poland joins EU core
Property Investor Europe (PIE) magazine write-up of its Polish Property Breakfast - Boom slows but opportunities remain.
FT - Poland: bye bye austerity
That's the way the message was received by Ben Habib, chief executive of First Property Group, a UK real estate investor specialising in Poland.
Costar: First Property devise first foray into regional UK senior debt lending
James Wallace of CoStar news writes about Fprop's plans to exploit dislocation in the capital markets by establishing a debt fund.
IP Real Estate - Fprop targets pension schemes with second UK core fund
Shayla Walmsley of Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE) discusses Fprop's new UK fund with Ben Habib, CEO and CIO of First Property Group.
Investors Chronicle - First Property still undervalued
Stephen Wilmot of the Investors Chronicle writes that strong full-year results suggest Fprop is "weathering the storm pretty well" leaving its shares looking undervalued.
Warsaw Business Journal - First Property Group plans acquisitions
Adam Zdrodowski of the Warsaw Business Journal discusses commercial property investment in Poland with Fprop CEO, Ben Habib.
Investor Chronicle - Property buys with deep potential
Simon Thompson, Investor's Chronicle companies editor, reviews the performance of two shares in his "Bargain Shares Portfolio" which have not performed as he had hoped, of which Fprop is one.
FT Economic fears curtail market resurgence
Jan Cienski, Warsaw Bureau Chief for the Financial Times, reviews the prospects for commercial property in Central & Eastern Europe in 2012.
Investors Chronicle - Shopping for value
Canny investors, such as First Property Group, are putting their money into discount retail property.
FT: Polish retailers - expanding
By Jan Cienski, Warsaw bureau chief of the FT.
FT: Polish commercial real estate: Blackstone buoys business
A write-up by the FT's Jan Cienski on a panel session hosted by DTZ in conjunction with the British Polish Chamber of Commerce (BPCC), at which Fprop CEO Ben Habib was a speaker, entitled "Impact of EU turmoil on the Polish real estate market".
IPE Real Estate - First Property targets follow up fund for UK Pension Schemes
IPE's Shayla Walmsley reports on Fprop's planned new UK core Fund.
FT: Moody's reaffirms Poland's A2 credit rating with a stable outlook
FT: Moody's reaffirms Poland's A2 credit rating with a stable outlook
FT: Poland's unexpectedly strong 4.2% y/y growth is keeping the bears at bay, writes Jan Cienski
High growth is latest in series of good economic news for Poland.
IP Real Estate: The core conundrum
Shayla Walmsley looks at the significant re-pricing of core real estate markets. This article includes comments from Ben Habib, Fprop CEO and CIO, about the yield gap.
Investors Chronicle's 2011 small-cap income portfolio
Graeme Davis named First Property Group as one of six small-cap dividend opportunities to watch in the coming year.
Investors Chronicle - Property plays pay
Following on from his 'Bargain Shares' recommendation, Simon Thompson has more good news to report on First Property. Noting a 20% rise in value for the assets under management, he continues to rate the company as a strong buy.
Investors Chronicle tips First Property for 2011
Investors Chronicle - European property fund manager First Property has been making something of a name for itself..."
FT Special Report: Investing in Central & Eastern Europe
General piece by Jan Cienski on the divergent fortunes of the differing CEE economies, in which he quotes Fprop CEO Ben Habib.
Bloomberg: Polish property lures investors with better returns than London
by Simon Packard.
IP Real Estate: First Property wraps up USS mandate, returns to Poland
IPE Real Estate.
Property Week: Opportunity knocks for First Poland fund
Property Week.
Digital Look: First Property in pole position
Broker Snap - on launch of Fprop Opportunities plc (FOP).
IP Real Estate: Lifting pension property ban would save Polish market
Shayla Walmsley quotes Ben Habib, CEO, in calling for Polish pension fund regulations to be varied to include real estate in the list of asset classes in which domestic pension funds may invest.
Shares Magazine: Investing in Poland
"...Shares says buy ishares MSCI Investable Market Index Fund at $25.24, Market Vectors Poland ETF at $21.08 and First Property Group at 18.5p."
Investors Chronicle: First Property heads home
"...First Property has more foresight and zip than most UK property companies and we continue to rate the shares a buy for income."
Growth Company Investor: First Property weathers the storm
"Poland-focused First Property Group says it has come through a testing year profitable and in very good shape. Directors say pre-tax profits for the year to March should come out in line with market expectations".
Investors Chronicle: AIM's maginificent seven (by Graeme Davies)
"...The shares are forecast to pay out a dividend yield of 7 per cent, covered almost three times, and First Property's solid and dependable revenue streams should make this a fairly secure bet..."
FT: First Property Group returns to UK market
Daniel Thomas reports on launch of UK Pension Property Portfolio (UK PPP LP), FPAM's new fund established on behalf of 3 pension fund clients of Stamford Associates.
Motley Fool: Two Property Shares Worth Inspecting
"...the assets it manages on behalf of its clients outperformed the IPD Benchmark for Central Eastern Europe by more than four percentage points in 2008...".
Investors Chronicle: First Property is coming home
"...Although FP's profits could stagnate this year and next, it could attract a lot of UK institutional support. As the company increases its dividend, we continue to rate the shares a buy for income."
Digital Look: First Property "significantly undervalued"
Broker Snap - First Property significantly undervalued

FPAM funds rank No.1 versus MSCI’s Central & Eastern European (CEE) Benchmark for the eleven years from the commencement of its operations in Poland in 2005, and for the annualised periods from 2005 to the end of each of the years from 31 December 2008. In addition, FPAM’s UK Pension Property Portfolio (UK PPP) was awarded best “Small Specialist Fund” by MSCI at its UK Property Investment Awards 2017. FPAM was also one of ten fund managers, out of a pool of 95, to be awarded a Data Quality Award by MSCI.

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