BNP Paribas acquires UK real-estate group

French bank BNP Paribas is to acquire a high-end UK estate agency in a Brexit-defying commitment to the UK property sector.

BNP will merge its UK property arm, BNP Paribas Real Estate UK, with Strutt & Parker to create a group with combined turnover of about £180m a year.

The deal follows several months of talks, as reported by the FT in March, and will result in Andy Martin, senior partner at Strutt & Parker, becoming chief executive of the new group, according to a person close to the situation.

Thierry Laroue-Pont, chief executive of BNP Paribas Real Estate, said: “This combination will enable us to offer our clients all over the world a broadened and deepened expertise.”

The deal comes as other European banks shift some operations out of the UK ahead of the country’s departure from the European Union.

It will more than double the turnover of BNP Paribas’ UK real-estate arm, which is small compared with other property services groups active in the country, including CBRE, Savills and JLL. The pair said it would create a “leading UK real estate player”. Full financial details have not been released.

The agreement, expected to complete in September, comes after Strutt & Parker faced declining profits, partly because of a downturn in the market for high-end London homes.

Profits dropped 35 per cent to £18.2m in the year to April 2016, the last year for which results have been released. The group is also a major player in the rural property market.

BNP has opted to buy both the commercial and residential arms of Strutt, which has 60 offices across the UK; the commercial arm of the business will take on the BNP brand. It has not yet revealed the future of John Slade, currently UK chief executive of BNP Paribas Real Estate.

BNP Paribas Real Estate generated €700m of revenues last year from consulting, managing and investing in commercial and residential property. The UK is its third-biggest market after France and Germany, generating 12 per cent of…

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