Evans sees confidence return as it secures £175m funding deal

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THE outlook for the UK economy and real estate market is “set fair”, according to one of Yorkshire’s biggest property investors.

Paul Millington, financial director at Evans Management Ltd Group, made the comments after the family-owned business announced a new funding deal worth £175m.

He told the Yorkshire Post: “We are seeing an improvement in real estate, which started in London and has been rippling out into major cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham and one or two others. The UK economy’s signs are very positive. Business confidence is back.”

Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate and Institutional Banking provided £125m and Barclays £50m for the facilities package.

Mr Millington said: “We have got significant scope for acquisitions given that the balance sheet is geared at around 35 per cent and we have a net asset value of £360m. The new facility is going to help implement our deal pipeline.” He added: “There is greater appetite from the banks.”

Evans has submitted planning application for an upmarket new hotel in Greek Street, Leeds. It is thought to be ready to invest £15m in the project.

The group has also acquired the Dakota hotel in Glasgow. It already owns a Dakota hotel in Edinburgh. Evans is refurbishing Minerva House in Leeds to tap into the demand for grade A office space in the city.

Other assets include 1 Park Row, home to Pinsent Masons and Rothschild, and the White Rose shopping centre.

Founded by the late Fred Evans OBE, Evans is one of the UK’s most successful property companies and holds significant cash reserves after selling £600m worth of properties in 2006 and 2007.

Roderick Evans announced in December 2012 that he was taking day-to-day control of the business, following in the footsteps of his father Michael, who is based in Monaco, and grandfather Fred.

Ian Marcus, a long-standing adviser to the business, recently stepped down as a non-executive director.