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Accommodation operator GSA moves into Spain

GSA, the global student accommodation operator, has announced it is expanding its business into Spain after having acquired a Spanish student accommodation portfolio.

The acquisition gives GSA four sites in Madrid and two coming on stream in Barcelona

"We are targeting higher education markets where there is a substantial supply-demand imbalance"

The company cited Spain’s popularity as an education destination when announcing the acquisition, which comprises four Madrid-based accommodation developments and two more Barcelona-based operations coming on stream in 2019.

The transaction comprises 914 beds across three properties and a further 1,320 beds in development, acquired from funds run by Oaktree Capital Management.

Nicholas Porter, founder and chairman of GSA, said: “We continue to deliver on our rapid European expansion plans, targeting higher education markets where there is a substantial supply-demand imbalance.”

“Our brands are carefully targeted towards students, capturing the demand for good quality purpose built student accommodation combined with excellent customer services,” he added.

According to GSA, Spain has a total of 1.5 million higher education students, although there are less than 100,000 purpose-built student accommodation beds.

Spain is one of the top Erasmus student destinations

The operational portfolio is located in central Madrid and consists of Galdos, with 370 beds in the heart of the city’s main university campus; El Faro with 358 beds, in a brand new award winning building and Claraval, a prime city centre location which comprises 186 beds.

In September 2017, the newly completed Lope de Vega University Residence, will open for the first time, becoming home to 468 domestic and international students.

The company – which already operates in Australia, China, Dubai, Germany, Ireland, Japan and the UK – noted that Spain is one of the top Erasmus student destinations, and Barcelona is home to three Spanish business schools ranked in the world’s top 20.

It also announced the acquisition of the Nexo Residencias operating business and brand: Nexo Residencias will become the third brand in Europe for GSA alongside The Student Housing Company and Uninest Student Residences.

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