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The UK's largest datacenter is being built by a new fund that is domiciled and administered in Guernsey and listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange (CISX).
The PFB Data Centre Fund has been set up to focus on the specialist property sector and has entered into a joint venture with German-based developer e-shelter to build a datacenter facility on a 50 acre site at Saunderton, near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. The development should rank as the second-largest datacenter facility in Europe.
The fund has been established as a Guernsey registered closed ended investment company and is listed on the CISX. It is managed by Pinder Fry & Benjamin in the UK and International Administration Guernsey (IAG) has been appointed as the administrator. The legal advisers are Macfarlanes in the UK and Carey Olsen in Guernsey.
The PFB Data Centre Fund aims for the development at Saunderton to tackle the bottleneck in modern datacenter supply.
A shortage of data warehousing has followed the failure of many former datacenter operators, which were wiped out following the dotcom bust eight years ago. An expansion in the supply of datacenters has also been limited because the cost of developing the properties is high and their stringent locational and energy supply demands. At the same time there has been an explosion of online consumer spending, data-rich online applications, such as video and peer-to-peer file sharing and tougher regulation on financial services groups' retention of data. All of these factors have boosted demand.
The fund has agreed to finance the acquisition and development of the Saunderton site. This is the first investment for the fund and it is in discussions with e-shelter about further opportunities in the UK and on the Continent. The Saunderton site is being acquired from Molins, the tobacco machinery manufacturer, for 17.5 million. Once the site has been developed and the datacenters have been fitted out, its gross value could be approximately 1 billion. The fund aims to raise between 100 million and 200 million of equity, through a number of share offers, by the end of 2009. The second share offer closes at the end of June. The fund will have a life of five to seven or more years and the manager anticipates returns, based ovarious assumptions, of 17% to 19% a year.
Ben Morgan, partner at Carey Olsen, said: "TThe PFB Data Centre Fund is a particularly interesting example of the sort of funds coming to the Island."