GSA Wants to Invest €0.5bn in Student Halls in Spain

7 December 2017 – Expansión

The British firm Global Student Accommodation (GSA), which specialises in student accommodation, arrived in Spain in June with the purchase of Nexo Residencias from Oaktree Capital Management. This move, which allowed it to add a portfolio of 2,300 beds in the country, was just the beginning, given that the company plans to reach 10,000 beds by 2025 and invest approximately €0.5 billion in the country. In this way, Spain would account for between 20% and 25% of the firm’s portfolio in Europe, which in turn is expected to account for 45% of the total worldwide.

“To date, we have invested €0.2 billion and we expect to invest approximately €0.5 billion in total”, explained the founder and CEO of GSA, Nicholas Porter, in an interview with Expansión.

Spain represents one of the company’s priority markets, although the firm also plans to expand its presence to other countries in Europe and Latin America, to reach 250,000 beds around the world by 2025. GSA is present in eight countries and thirty cities in two regions: EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Asia-Pacific.

“Over there next ten years, there are going to be 100 million more students in university education. That trend is going to be driven by the growth of the middle class in China, India and other regions in Asia. The globalisation of university higher education and educational institutions exporting their brands will allow us to reach more markets than ever”, he states.

Porter explains that, of the company’s objective of reaching 250,000 beds around the world by 2025, “right now, we have achieved 10% of that figure”.

GSA promotes, manages and invests in student halls in locations close to the most important universities in the world.

Specifically, the company currently has projects underway with forecast investment of USD 1 billion around the world and a portfolio under development of around 21,000 beds. Moreover, to achieve its objective, the firm plans to leverage its brand through franchises in other markets, such as, for example, Latin America.

New markets

The company operates its halls of residence through the brands Uninest Student Residences, The Student Housing Company and Nexo Residencias, which it acquired in June 2017, representing its debut in Spain. “We see Nexo as an expansion platform, not only in Spain, but also in the south of Europe and Latin America”.

Currently, GSA has 1,500 operational beds in Spain and 900 beds under construction in Barcelona, which it plans to open in September 2019. Specifically, the operating portfolio is located in the centre of Madrid and includes: Galdós, with 370 beds, in Ramiro de Maeztu; El Faro, inaugurated in September 2016 and located in Moncloa with 358 beds; and Claraval, on c/ San Bernardo, with 186 beds. It also owns the Lope de Vega hall of residence in Alcalá de Henares, which it recently opened and which houses 468 students, both from Spain and overseas.

Moreover, it has two additional development plans underway in Barcelona, which will be ready for use in 2019 with 900 more beds (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

 

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