In the 2000’s, Scott Wilkerson and Philip Payne ran a public platform, heading up BNP Residential Properties until it was sold to Australian investment firm Babcock & Brown Residential in 2007. With today’s news (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-03-19/apartment-reit-ginkgo-residential-plans-initial-public-offering) that their new firm, Charlotte-based Ginkgo Residential Trust, plans to raise $250 million in an initial public offering (which is a placeholder to calculate fees and could change), it looks they want to get back to the public realm again.
Gingko owns 24 apartment complexes in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, totaling 5,768 units. It also manages four other operators. Wilkerson and Payne built Gingko out of the ashes(http://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/distressed-assets/gingko-rises-from-remnants-of-babcock-brown.aspx) of Babcock & Brown, which grew to around 28,000 units before its bankruptcy.
Payne, CEO of Gingko, and Wilkerson, COO of the company, expect to “pursue an aggressive acquisition program” to expand their portfolio of mid- market apartments in the South and have identified about $270 million of potential purchases, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Bloomberg.
After they spun out from Babcock, Payne told me that getting capital was their key focus. “Our primary goal is to raise money, buy properties and get back to what we have always done,” he says.
In Gingko’s SEC filing, the company sells its ability to amass a portfolio without significant competition. “We typically do not face significant competition from other institutional multifamily real estate buyers for acquisitions in our target markets, as these buyers tend to focus on luxury properties in select gateway or coastal markets outside the southern U.S.,” the company said in its filing.
Despite its skill set and track record in the business, there will be challenges with the Gingko IPO. Babcock doesn’t have the scale of other REITs. The smallest apartment REITs in the space are generally at around 20,000 units.
With only around 5,000 units, there are fewer properties for Gingko to spread its expenses across. Most analysts feel that the only company that will come close or over net asset value is Archstone. Everyone will have to deal with a big discount. That includes Gingko, its executives experience in the public realm will help.
Last year, market volatility thwarted a possible IPO from King of Prussia, Penn.,-based Morgan Properties. Before that, Charlotte-based student housing provider Campus Crest completed its IPO after facing some initial difficulties.
Questions remain about whether Gingko will make it through and if anyone else will follow. Do you see companies other than Archstone making runs at IPO?