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Blackstone Turns To Europe For Last-Mile Logistics Real Estate Domination

FreightWaves

Global asset management titan Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX), fresh from a major leap into the U.S. logistics real estate market, has extended its last-mile infrastructure reach into Europe by forming a company called "Mileway" to support pan-European last-mile delivery operations.

The new company will utilize 1,000 logistics "assets" that Blackstone, which entered real estate in 1991 and today is a major player in virtually all forms of property, has acquired over the years. Mileway will become the largest last-mile logistics real estate firm in Europe, with more than 29 million square feet of space, Blackstone said. More than 80 percent of the capacity is in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and France, Blackstone said. 

Published reports have pegged the value of the new company's portfolio alone at around $8 billion in assets, a staggering sum if accurate, said Marek Różycki, managing partner of Last Mile experts, a Warsaw-based consultancy. Blackstone did not include the portfolio's value in its announcement, and company officials did not respond to requests for comment on September 25.

In June, Blackstone spent $18.7 billion to acquire 179 million square feet of "urban logistics" assets from GLP, a Singapore investment manager, in the largest-ever real estate investment between privately held multinational firms. The acquisition nearly doubled Blackstone's U.S. industrial logistics footprint.

In its September 24 announcement, Blackstone said logistics, especially last-mile, remains one of its top investment themes.

The European last-mile logistics real estate sector is fragmented. In the U.K., there is a dearth of suitable last-mile assets to meet what is expected to be growing e-commerce demand, Rozycki said. However, given the breadth of the market – the European Union alone is comprised of 28 countries – it is hard to imagine any one company, even one as large as Blackstone, dominating everywhere, he added.

Emmanuel Van der Stichele, previously fund director of the Goodman European Logistics Fund, was named Mileway's CEO. The new firm is headquartered in Amsterdam.

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