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Safestore May Enter Stock Market

Safestore, the U.K.’s largest self-storage company, is considering entering the stock market, says the Daily Mail. Chief Executive Steve Williams has been meeting with bankers including Merrill Lynch & Co. to see if the City would welcome another self-storage company joining the market.


SSA-UK Prints Results of Member Survey

The Self Storage Association of the United Kingdom released the results of its 2005 member survey, which included data from 89 companies, or 70 percent of its total membership. Survey results, as reported by the Self Storage Sentinel, revealed the U.K. storage industry continues to grow at an estimated 10 percent to 15 percent per year, and its size nearly doubled in the previous four years.

The country is home to approximately 600 “significant” facilities totaling about 20 million rentable square feet. The industry generates approximately £310 million in revenue, serves more than 200,000 customers and employs more than 2,000 staff members.

A typical U.K. facility has 510 units with an average size of 75 square feet. Almost 50 percent of the market is owned by the nine largest U.K. self-storage companies, predominantly in London and the Southeast. Approximately 70 percent of customers are private individuals. For more information, visit www.ssauk.com


Raid Uncovers Fake DVDs

A raid on 11 units at a Shurgard Self Storage site in Ealing, London, netted the largest-ever haul of pirated “Bollywood” films, reported the Gulf Times.

More than £500,000 of counterfeit goods including 200,000 Hollywood, pornographic and India’s Bollywood DVDs were seized. The estimated 13 tons of merchandise included the films, cover sleeves, blank DVDs, CDs, fake Nike and Timberland trainers and counterfeit sports clothing. More than £6,000 cash was also confiscated in the raid, which followed months of intelligence gathering by three agencies. Four people were arrested and three cars seized.


Property Owners See Cash Cow in Self-Storage

Metcalfe Realty Company Ltd. plans to convert 47,000 square feet of Ottawa, Canada, warehouse space known as Vimy House near LeBreton Flats. Plans call for 1,100 self-storage units, according to the Ottawa Business Journal.

The building once housed the Canadian War Museum’s collection of firearms, vehicles, art and uniforms. Previously, it was an Ottawa transit commission bus and streetcar depot. At a time when commercial vacancy in Ottawa hovers at about 6.8 percent, some experts say it’s becoming trendy to convert such empty space to high-end self-storage warehouses. However, a company spokesman says market research done by the developer shows 99 percent of Ottawa storage facilities are filled.


Valad Property Group Opens Queensland Office

Valad Property Group, an investor in multiple property types including self-storage, opened a new Brisbane, Australia, office to manage and expand its growing Queensland portfolio, which now exceeds $310 million, reported the Property Review. The company has numerous facilities in a joint venture with Kennards Self Storage. Valad has several investments in Queensland including retail centers, office space, industrial developments and retirement developments.


Big Yellow Reports Profit Surge

Big Yellow Group, the largest U.K. publicly traded self-storage operator, said its net income in the six months ending Sept. 30 rose to £41.1 million pounds (US$79 million), a 35 percent increase from the prior year, reported Bloomberg News. Big Yellow raised £36.4 million in July in a share sale to fund expansion and pay for its conversion to a real estate investment trust. The company increased its first-half dividend 75 percent to 3.5 pence a share, and confirmed it plans to pay higher dividends than required under REIT rules. In October, Big Yellow agreed to franchise a network of stores in the United Arab Emirates and open its first store in the region in Dubai in the first half of 2008.

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