The Berkeley Group’s shareholders have given the housebuilder approval to form three joint ventures worth £1bn with its biggest investor, Saudi Arabian firm Saad Investments.
The joint ventures – a land fund, a development company and a property investment company – will enable Berkeley to build up its landbank in the UK. Berkeley will invest up to £175m in the ventures. It believes that if it invests the maximum amount, together with Saad’s investment and external bank loans, a fund of about £1bn will be available. Saad has a 29% holding in the housebuilder.
The deal will enable Berkeley to plan development in the long-term and overcome the need to obtain planning consents quickly. Investment in the joint ventures is expected to occur over a 10 year period.
The deal follows joint ventures between Berkeley and Saad in the 1990s. These included Saad Berkeley Investment Properties, Berkeley Eastoak Investments, and Saad Berkeley, a residential developer that is still operational.