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RAM Group fires up four banks for Essential Services float

This article originally appeared in Australian Financial Review

Fund manager Real Asset Management has mandated four stockbroking firms to oversee its maiden initial public offering for the ASX boards.

Street Talk can reveal RAM has called in Credit Suisse, UBS, Ord Minnett and E&P Corporate Advisory to pitch the group’s Essential Services Property Fund to investors and underwrite the mooted offer, with marketing due to ramp up next month.

RAM’s Essential Services Property Fund is slated to hit the ASX boards as the owner of more than 20 Australian medical and neighbourhood convenience properties worth between $500 million and $1 billion, and anchored by tenants that provide essential services.

The lead managers are expected to pitch the REIT as a defensive play, telling potential investors it would be the first listed fund with material medical property sector exposure and has a long weighted average lease expiry profile.

Its assets include the 70-bed North West Private Hospital in Cooee near Burnie on the north-west coast of Tasmania, the 54-bed Dubbo Private Hospital in central NSW, each acquired late last year.

Sources said the float preparations were well advanced. RAM, an Australian owned wealth and asset manager with nearly $2 billion in assets, has also lined up a heavyweight board to oversee the proposed listed fund.

Long-time Scentre Group chief operating officer and Westfield executive Greg Miles will be the REIT’s non-executive chairman, and be joined around the boardroom table by ex-Arena REIT Ltd managing director Bryce Mitchelson and former CBA private bank executive Marianne Perkovic.

The REIT’s other directors will include RAM Group CEO Scott Wehl and RAM Group Australia boss Scott Kelly. RAM will continue to manage the REIT and Wehl and Kelly would be classified as executive directors.

If successful, RAM Group’s fund would be the biggest real estate investment trust listing on the ASX so far this year. However, that honour could be short-lived, with David Di Pilla’s Home Consortium working on its own healthcare property IPO, which could be worth as much as $1 billion.

RAM and HomeCo’s plans come as real estate fund managers have worked to compile REITs with health care sector exposure, and bankers encouraged them to take the funds to the ASX boards.

Heathley Healthcare REIT got the closest to a listing in late 2018, when it put a $226.4 million raising to potential investors. However the IPO was pulled and Heathley (the manager) was snapped up by Centuria Capital in 2019.