Singapore’s GIC takes stake in emerging The Student Hotel

Singapore state investor GIC and Dutch pension fund APG will acquire a substantial stake in hybrid, student accommodation brand The Student Hotel (TSH) from Aermont Capital to fuel further expansion of the concept in Europe. The deal values TSH at €2.1 billion (US$2.21 billion). No other details about the transaction were released.

APG and founder Charlie MacGregor will increase their current stakes in Amsterdam-based TSH, while GIC becomes a new investor. APG first invested in TSH in 2015 after MacGregor and Aermont Capital came together in 2014.

The Student Hotel, Berlin

MacGregor opened in 2012 the first of what is now approximately 25 TSH properties (10,000 rooms) open or under development. Currently, 15 hotels are open and properties in Madrid, Barcelona and Toulouse are set to open this year. The new investor trio stated it hopes to double the portfolio of properties that mix student accommodation, hotel rooms, co-working, meeting spaces, bars and restaurants in city centers near transportation networks and universities.

TSH Founder and CEO Charlie MacGregor told HOTELS on Tuesday, “We have a very healthy pipeline of hotels opening after 2022, including in San Sebastian, Glasgow, Lisbon, Porto, Rome, Florence and Turin… Of course it would be dream come true to expand beyond Europe, but currently our focus is on our busy pipeline in Europe.

“We have bold plans and the additional committed capital will allow us to be even more ambitious,” MacGregor added. “I’m very grateful for Aermont being alongside us since 2014, for what has been an amazing journey to where we are today. With our hybrid hospitality model, we have become a game-changer for the hospitality industry and have a major growth platform to welcome more guests to our hotels.”

“We have a very healthy pipeline of hotels opening after 2022, including in San Sebastian, Glasgow, Lisbon, Porto, Rome, Florence and Turin.” – Charlie MacGregor

Leadership stated on Tuesday that the TSH model proved resilient during the pandemic as it substantially increased room allocation towards students when leisure and corporate travel dried up, thereby achieving strong occupancy rates and remaining cash positive. They added that current booking patterns look strong with the 2022/2023 academic year standing at record levels.

TSH also said it is working on developing a space/time booking platform so guests can book any space in its buildings, including meeting rooms, co-working desks, gym and pool access and ping pong tables.

The biggest challenge moving forward, according to MacGregor: “Our biggest challenge was obviously the pandemic. At the same time that challenge showed the resilience of our hybrid model, and we even opened three hotels during that time in Bologna, Delft and Vienna. That experience gives us confidence that we can face any challenges ahead.”