Motorway services sold in £35m deal

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A MOTORWAY service station has been sold to a fund manager in a deal worth over £35m.

The sale of Woolley Edge Services, which is located off the M1 in West Yorkshire and run by Moto, represents one of the largest single-asset investment transactions in the sector.

The deal follows a spate of activity in recent years, with over £250m of investment assets traded in 2013.

Knight Frank’s specialist property investment team and newly formed automotive team advised on the acquisition.

Adam Chapman, head of Knight Frank’s automotive team, said: “Service areas offer remarkably strong investment credentials, being extremely defensive, due to high barriers to entry, and providing a robust hedge against rising inflation.

“Yet opportunities to acquire comprehensive service area assets are extremely rare, with the majority of the network being held freehold. The sector has witnessed an extraordinary resurgence in the last decade, due in part to the introduction of major high street brands and a relaxation in government policy, and with increasing investor involvement, highly impressive ‘airport-like’ facilities are likely to one day be the norm.”

Charles Fletcher, of Knight Frank’s specialist property investment team, added: “This transaction highlights the continued appetite from institutional investors wishing to gain exposure to specialist sector assets which can offer excellent returns and diversity of income across their funds.”