Topland Group said 2016 proved a successful year for the company, despite widespread economic uncertainty, after continuing to build its loan book and also increase its presence in the UK leisure and healthcare sectors.
In his annual chairman’s statement Sol Zakay, who also acts as chief executive, said: “As an equity rich group with an entrepreneurial ethos, we have been uniquely placed to capitalise on some of the opportunities presented both pre and post-Brexit.
“Our structured finance division has had a hugely successful year, issuing some £350m of new loans in 2016, which has brought the total loan book value to £750m. In an era of conservative lending, we are proud to offer a range of alternative products and solutions. In particular, we have deployed significant funds into joint ventures with developers and I am keen to grow this business further.”
Topland’s current joint ventures include a 200-bed hotel development at Manchester’s Trafford City with Marick Capital, which it announced in September 2015 after buying a 1.57 acre site from Peel Holdings. Topland is eyeing several such schemes, having earmarked £100m for similar projects in key regeneration areas throughout the UK.
The company currently has a portfolio of 40 hotels, 28 of which are operated directly by Topland under its Hallmark brand which it launched in 2015.
Zakay said it remained committed to building a £1bn hotel business through further acquisitions of both stand-alone assets and portfolios. It also wants to expand its hotel empire beyond the UK by acquiring branded or unbranded hotels abroad in mainland Europe or in the Caribbean.
The company has also been stepping up its exposure to healthcare with plans to double the £250m it allocated to the sector in 2016 this year.
Zakay said: “2016 saw Topland continue to acquire property investments offering active asset management plays, such as multi-lets in Northampton, Reading and Edinburgh and our re-entry into the London market with deals in Upper James Street, Soho and Hanwell. Our strategic focus is on delivering strong performance across a diverse investment portfolio comprising multi-let assets in core provincial markets such as Bristol, Cardiff, Reading and Solihull.
“With extensive in-house management expertise, we have achieved notable successes such as an extensive refurbishment of Bristol’s Whitefriars, which has driven occupancy up to 98%. We will continue to seek asset management opportunities through the acquisition of assets with short-dated income, an element of vacancy and the ability to further add value.
“As a group we are looking forward to 2017 with a sense of confidence and optimism. The investment climate is undoubtedly more challenging, but our entrepreneurial culture and in-depth experience across a diverse range of sectors and money ready to deploy puts us in a strong position to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the prevailing market inertia.”