The integration of Smart Studios – which the Nido Student platform has rebranded – marks the next phase of Round Hill Capital’s strategy for the PBSA scheme, following its acquisition of the business last year.
“Having spent a significant amount of time since acquisition learning the Smart Studios business and incorporating their local expertise into our operating model, we are now fully integrating and rebranding the business into the Nido platform. This will provide it with a significant number of benefits in terms of operational excellence, resources, and economies of scale. Our aim now is to begin maximising those opportunities to give our residents the very best experience while bringing forward more much needed high-quality living facilities into an undersupplied market. We will also focus our attention on mobilising the four first class former Smart Studios development assets, while also looking to further expand the Nido business more broadly across Europe.”Darren Gardner, Chief Operating Officer, Nido
Round Hill Capital acquired Smart Studios on behalf of its RHESA joint venture with CPP Investments, which has a long-term target of building a c.€2bn portfolio.
The RHESA portfolio currently comprises c.5,000 beds across 16 assets, which are primarily managed by Nido as part of its wider 9,000 bed portfolio across Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
“Following our acquisition of Smart Studios last year our plan has always been to integrate the business into the Nido platform and brand. Nido is a clear market leader in the European student accommodation space and we believe that by drawing on its own expertise and Round Hill Capital’s long standing track record of developing and managing purpose built residential assets it will be able to both improve the experience for our residents and apply economies of scale to help drive investor returns.”João Pita, Head of Portugal, Round Hill Capital
The Smart Studios portfolio comprises c.2,000 beds, the majority of which are in the Lisbon metropolitan area (88%), with one asset in Oporto (12%).
900 beds across five locations in Lisbon and Oporto have opened to students and young professionals spread across four developments which are due to open within the next two years.
These cities have become popular destinations for students, due to the high educational standards, low tuition fees and positive quality of life.
The rebranding of Smart Studios to the Nido Student platform will ensure that residents can benefit from the expertise, resources, the economies of scale available as part of a larger European platform, and brand recognition of the Nido platform; alongside upholding strong ESG credentials.
“Investing in high quality, modern residential assets with good environmental credentials, located in leading European cities with strong supply / demand fundamentals, continues to be a focus for Round Hill Capital and we will continue to look for opportunities to grow our portfolio both in Portugal and across Europe.”João Pita, Head of Portugal, Round Hill Capital
Since acquisition, Nido has onboarded Smart Studios to its management systems to streamline operations, as part of its broader strategy of utilising technology to improve operational performance and resident service.