Helsingin Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy to repurchase its shares from the Government

Helsingin Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy, a property investment company, will repurchase the shares which the Finnish Government has held through Senate Properties. An agreement on the acquisition was reached in March 2015, but the deal is still pending approval by the next Parliament.

Prior to the ownership change, Senate Properties has held 33% of the company’s shares. With a holding of 61%, the University of Helsinki Group has already owned part of Helsingin Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy.

Following the share repurchase, the property investment company will be owned by the University of Helsinki, Hanken School of Economics and the University of Arts Helsinki; that is, the universities that use the company’s facilities. The repurchase will be carried out jointly by all three universities.

“This reform, one of the goals since the company’s establishment, can be carried out now that the Government is willing to divest its property. We are taking this significant measure to secure the future of the University of Helsinki. In the long run, the deal will improve the University’s solvency and our ability to steer operations in the chosen direction,” explains Rector Jukka Kola of the University of Helsinki.

Shares to be purchased at market price

Helsingin Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy will repurchase its shares at the market price determined by independent price estimates. The entire deal will be financed with a long-term loan. Leases will be kept at their present level for now, and the yields will be used to repay the loan. The repurchase scheme will lower the company’s equity ratio, but only temporarily.

“Operating in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Helsingin Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy differs from the other Finnish university property companies in terms of its ownership base and the surrounding real estate market,” adds Rector Kola. “The new arrangement will offer the company better opportunities to support the operating targets of its sole three lessees, which operate in a highly competitive market in the Helsinki Capital Region. We value extremely highly the ability to make decisions regarding our own facilities.”

In accordance with its strategy, the University of Helsinki aims to make more effective use of its facilities. The facilities and property vacated by the University will be leased or sold to others, the goal being to secure more resources for the University’s core duties: teaching and research.

The purchase will have no impact on these core duties.

Press release by the Finnish Government (in Finnish)