Harworth completes £12.7m acquisition of Towngate Business Park in Widnes

Harworth Group plc, a leading regenerator of land and property for development and investment, announces the acquisition of Towngate Business Park, a multi-let industrial estate in Widnes, Cheshire, from Towngate Plc for £12.7 million. The transaction is in line with Harworth’s strategy of growing its income portfolio to cover its overheads from recurring rental income from investments which also offer value enhancement opportunities.

Towngate Business Park, a former Golden Wonder food factory, comprises a total of c. 262,000 sq ft of industrial space, which has been divided into nine warehouse units, ranging in size from 4,000 sq ft to 77,000 sq ft, and 3.8 acres of open storage. The asset is fully let and generates rental income of £958,000 per annum with a WAULT of 4.3 years. This reflects a Net Initial Yield of 7.1% and a reversionary yield of c. 9.4%. Occupiers include Aggreko UK, Xpel Marketing, Initial Packaging and QA Flooring.

Harworth intends to invest in the estate, leveraging its asset management expertise to capture rental reversion and explore infill development opportunities over the medium term.

Located on Everite Road, Widnes, Towngate Business Park provides easy access to the M62 via the M57 (1 mile) and south to the M56 (1 mile), leading to the M6. Liverpool John Lennon Airport, the Port of Liverpool and Manchester International Airport are all situated within a 24 mile radius.

The acquisition has been funded by proceeds from the Company’s active churn strategy in its income portfolio, recycling capital through the disposal of non-core assets or those where the Group has completed its asset management business plans. Most recently, this manifested in the £3.35 million sale of Lynfield Park, the former Alcan Rio Tinto smelter in Northumberland, in February 2021, ahead of book value.

At 31 December 2020, Harworth’s Business Space portfolio of predominantly industrial and logistics properties, generated £15.7 million of annual rental income with a WAULT of 12.5 years. The Company continues to target similar income producing investments, which are in strong locations across its core regions, as part of its strategy.

“Towngate Business Park is a fantastic addition to our income portfolio, adding recurring income whilst also presenting asset management opportunities to generate future value. The acquisition builds on our ambition to grow our exposure in the North West, where the industrial market continues to see very high levels of occupier demand and extremely limited supply which is resulting in positive rental growth forecasts.”

Richard Bousfield, Head of Income, Harworth Group plc

“After 21 years of ownership of the site at Widnes, it will be sad to say goodbye, however the sale offers us an exciting opportunity to explore our investment plans closer to home, within the Yorkshire region.”

Tom Lamb, Property Manager, Towngate PLC

Harworth was advised by Metis Real Estate Advisors and Freeths LLP. The vendor was represented by B8 Real Estate and Littler Associates.