Xior takes European giant step with acquisition of 1 billion

Listed accommodation specialist Xior is taking over a large portfolio of accommodation establishments worth 939 million euros from its sector competitor Basecamp. As a result, the Antwerp company becomes active in Germany and Scandinavia and strengthens its market leader position on the European continent.

Xior, the housewife of the Brussels Stock Exchange, is making the biggest acquisition of its 15-year existence. The Antwerp specialist in student properties is taking over a large portfolio from its European counterpart Basecamp for 939 million euros. This was announced by Xior on Monday.

For CEO Christian Teunissen, the deal is a crucial step in realizing his dream of building a pan-European player in student housing. The Limburger, who started his career as an insurance broker, founded Xior Student Housing in 2007 when he took over several properties from his former landlord in Leuven.

Economies of scale

Teunissen made a name for itself in the UK, where professional real estate companies have been specializing in studio housing for some time now. While ten students used to live together in a house with a shared bathroom and kitchen, Teunissen was one of the first to see the economies of scale of larger, modern complexes with all kinds of services and common areas for tenants. Xior does everything itself, from construction, to operation and rental to marketing. ‘If a tenant calls with a complaint, we would like to be able to resolve it ourselves,’ says Teunissen.

To accelerate growth, Xior entered the Brussels Stock Exchange in 2015. At the time of listing, Teunissen’s portfolio had been expanded to 2,000 rooms in Belgium and the Netherlands. At the end of last year, the counter stood at 14,000 rooms and a value of 2 billion euros, ten times as much as at the IPO.

With the deal with Basecamp, Xior is taking a huge step forward. The company gets a quarter (3,635) student rooms. There are a further 8,900 rooms in the combined pipeline of Xior and Basecamp. As a result, the Antwerp company will soon have more than 26,500 student rooms. The value of this portfolio is then approximately 3.7 billion euros. Xior thus strengthens its position as the largest company in the field of specific student properties (Purpose-Built-Student-Accommodation or PBSA) on the European continent.

International expansion

Teunissen is also accelerating Xior’s international expansion. Belgium and the Netherlands, the two domestic markets, still account for more than half of the portfolio. Xior is now also active in Spain and Portugal. Earlier this year, it announced the construction of a first residence in the Polish capital Warsaw. With the acquisition of three Basecamp properties, with almost 2,000 rooms in Łódź and Katowice, Xior immediately gains a solid foothold in Poland. Thanks to Basecamp, the Antwerp company also acquires its first rooms in Germany (Leipzig and Potsdam) and Denmark (Copenhagen). A new complex will open in Malmö next year. Then Xior can add Sweden to its portfolio as the eighth country.



We are interested in countries with a large student population and not enough supply.

Christian Teunissen

CEO Xior

Xior will pay Basecamp EUR 899 million for the eleven homes, which are packed in two funds. In addition, Xior puts 40 million euros on the table for Basecamp’s development platform. Unlike Xior, which usually outsources its development to third parties, Basecamp has developed its own team that develops projects completely internally. This platform will help Xior expand rapidly in new countries. “We have know-how, but not all hands,” says Teunissen. ‘Thanks to Basecamp’s platform, we do not have to first get to know all the rental rules and local culture in new markets.’

Xior finances the transaction with Basecamp through a complex combination of, among other things, a contribution of buildings (252 million euros), existing debt (85 million euros) and new debt (301 million euros). The four entrepreneurs who founded Basecamp in 2014, including CEO Armon Bar-Tur and his father Amnon, will become shareholders in Xior.

Xior’s growth has not yet come to an end. Teunissen calls the acquisition of the eleven Basecamp homes a ‘first phase’. Xior can later also buy the rest of Basecamp’s portfolio, which according to its website owns or is developing 21 studio apartments. Xior CEO is fully interested in further foreign expansion. ‘Countries with a large student population and not enough supply are of interest to us.’ He gives France, Italy, Finland and Norway as examples.

3,635

Xior

Xior gets an additional 3,635 student rooms in one fell swoop.

Student properties are in high demand. The corona crisis had little impact on the sector. At the presentation of the results for the first quarter, Xior reported on a ‘massive search’ from students for student housing. Due to the opportunity to continuously raise rents and the growing flow of international students, more and more large investment funds are pouring into study properties.

Canadian real estate giant Brookfield on Monday reported the sale of Student Roost, one of the largest portfolios of UK student housing with 23,000. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and US real estate investor Greystar are reportedly paying £ 3.3 billion (€ 3.9 billion).

Profile Xior Student Housing

  • Founded: in 2017 by Christian Teunissen.
  • Listed: since 2015.
  • Number of student rooms: after the acquisition of the Basecamp portfolio 17,627 student rooms in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Germany and Denmark
  • Rental income (2021): 79.6 million euros.
  • EPRA profit from property lease: 44.8 million euros.
  • Employees (by appointment): 310.

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