HFS boss Martin Corbett said the firms already have a successful relationship. Credit: via AMA

Far East Orchard invests in Harrogate PBSA operator

A deal worth £17.6m has seen Homes For Students welcome the new shareholder, which has taken a 49% stake in the business.

The deal sees four earlier investors exit the business.

Founded in 2015, HFS operates more than 40,000 beds in more than 50 university towns and cities in the UK and Ireland, making it a major player in the purpose-built student accommodation sector.

Far East Orchard, which has built a reputation in real estate development, investment and management across residential, commercial and hospitality properties in Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK, moved into the development and investment of PBSA properties in the UK in 2015.

Legal firm Raworths, also based in Harrogate, advised HFS on the deal, having represented the company since its inception.

Martin Corbett, chief executive of HFS, said: “The shareholders and I are pleased to welcome Far East Orchard as a new principal investor to the Homes for Students team following their purchase of 49% of the share capital from four of our exiting investors.

“Since May 2023, we have been operating Far East Orchard’s PBSA property and already established a successful partnership. We very much look forward to continuing to grow our enterprise together, investing in our people, technology and new business streams.

“Today, HFS employ over 800 colleagues and our turnover this year is forecast to be over £80m. We have become increasingly influential in the PBSA sector across the UK and Ireland, so together with Far East Orchard, will take PBSA to greater heights as part of our 2030 vision.”

Simon Morris, managing partner at Raworths said: “We are proud to be on this journey with HFS, facilitating the company’s strategic growth plan. The investment by a significant international real estate business is a major show of confidence and further boosts HFS’s reputation as the leading PBSA provider in the UK.

“Deals of this nature are evidence of the level of service we offer our clients, and of the longstanding, trusted relationships Raworths is known for. We look forward to continuing to work with HFS on this exciting new chapter as they continue to expand into new markets and locations.”

Far East Orchard was represented by CMS and the exiting investors were advised by Walker Morris and Dentons.

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