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Iain Wotherspoon

Wotherspoon, 49, last year sold a 50% stake in his Edinburgh-based Kilmartin Property Group to banking giant HBOS. The £400m deal, which included debt, valued Kilmartin at about £75m. The group is developing a hotel in the British Virgin Islands and a £250m golf resort in Gleneagles in Fife. With his other interests, Wotherspoon is worth £75m.


Kilmartin - An introduction by Iain Wotherspoon

Kilmartin, founded in 1996, has become a leading property company which has offices in Edinburgh, London and Sheffield. The group specialises in property development, regeneration and investment.
The current development programme has an end value in excess of £750m consisting of 60 projects throughout the UK.
The investment portfolio consists of £90m of commercial investments.
The joint venture portfolio consists of regeneration and one-off commercial developments in Scotland and England with partners including British Waterways, United Utilities, UK Coal, JP Morgan, Revcap and several individual private companies who are actively involved in projects in Sheffield Business Park, Wynyard Business Park, Birmingham, Fort William, Inverness, Aberdeen and St Andrews. Public partnerships include schemes in East Kilbride, Dumfriesshire, Weston Super Mare, Perth and Northampton.

Iain Wotherspoon
Executive Chairman


Kilmartin acquires Amerdale resulting in £100 million European expansion - Iain Wotherspoon

by Kay Murchie -

Kilmartin, one of Scotland’s biggest property firms Kilmartin has acquired the Amerdale Group in a deal that will result in a £100 million expansion into Europe. Kilmartin will also acquire Amerdale’s London-based investment management fund.

Amerdale will now merge its London office into the Kilmartin Group before opening a new office in Berlin that will concentrate on Europe’s fast-growing commercial property sector. Amerdale operates primarily in the investment and industrial sectors of the UK.

The newly-formed group will employ over 50 staff and will have offices in Edinburgh, Inverness, Sheffield and London. Over the last 2 years, the group has sold £400 million worth of investments and developments.

Iain Wotherspoon, Kilmartin’s founder, will become executive chairman while Amerdale’s boss Mark Hancock will take on the role of group chief executive. Kilmartin highlighted that the group has already secured 5 major deals in Europe and the objective is to build the European business by 30% in the next 5 years.

Kilmartin added that the majority of people in this sector are selling but they are growing. This deal has resulted in 3 new directors, a new chief executive and £200 million worth of new business. The company aims to spend €100 million in Europe during 2007 while also planning expansion in France and Asia.

In early 2007, Iain Wotherspoon sold 50% of Kilmartin to HBOS in a deal thought to value the company at £75 million. HBOS is a long-standing financial supporter of Kilmartin, which has a development programme worth £1.1 billion and has been a keen investor in commercial and residential property.

Mark Hancock, the new chief executive commented that the last 9 months have been spent building up a contacts base in France and Germany.

Current Kilmartin projects include the redevelopment of the former Lothian regional council offices on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh into a boutique hotel and a £70m retail facility at Loch Lomond Shores. The development will be completed in 2008 and will comprise a bank branch and a 130-room luxury Radisson Hotel.


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Power of Scotland - Iain Wotherspoon

By Helen Thomas -

Little-known Scottish company Kilmartin Property Group made the headlines by snatching the prime Edinburgh Royal Infirmary site from the big hitters.
Now the Scottish developer has plans south of the border.
Iain Wotherspoon avoids the limelight.

The managing director of Kilmartin Property Group and Scotland's latest rising property star, Wotherspoon has been reluctant to court publicity, unlike competitor and fellow Scot John Kennedy of Kenmore.

'I personally am a low-profile operator,' Wotherspoon says of his reluctance to talk with the media. 'The boys upstairs [his Edinburgh team of six developers and six surveyors] think we should have a higher profile – at least some exposure in the market.'

Now the preferred bidder for the former Edinburgh Royal Infirmary site, the group is commanding attention – whether Wotherspoon likes it or not. So just who is behind the property company pitted as a rival for Kenmore, that snatched this prime 7.7ha (19 acre) city centre site from under the noses of other bidders, among them big hitters like Hines, Grosvenor, Miller and Morrison?

Founder foundations
It was a property recession that led to the birth of Kilmartin Property Group. Previously a director responsible for the London office of Scottish property company dunedin, Wotherspoon was made redundant after the property crash in 1991. Kilmartin, named after the oldest settlement in Scotland, began life as the property consultancy RJ Wotherspoon & Associates in 1991. The group advised private individuals and banks, including Bank of Scotland, which is now Kilmartin's funder.

By 1995 the group had been invited as local development partner for a number of joint ventures with Helical Bar, and was also carrying out consultancy work to generate income. These joint ventures gave the group the backing and the equity base to move into property deals. Between 1995 and 1997 it was rebranded as the Kilmartin Property Group.

Today, the company owns 22 subsidiaries, many of which are special purpose vehicles that have been established for specific developments. It is involved in nine joint ventures and will borrow a total of £150m from Bank of Scotland this year.

Employing 40 people, over the last four years Kilmartin has increased sales by more than 580% to £6.395m, and profits are up 15% to £569,000. 'We have grown quickly,' says Wotherspoon.

'But I think that is a testament to the philosophy behind the group, the strategy towards its profile and the relationship with the Bank of Scotland.'

In hospital
The Edinburgh Royal Infirmary is the most high-profile development the group has been involved in to date. It is a joint venture with Taylor Woodrow Capital Developments and Bank of Scotland.

'We have a restricted amount of time and a restricted amount of resources,' says Wotherspoon. 'By doing joint ventures we bring a partner in to help us, or they bring us in to help them. We are sharing the workload and also the risk and equity exposure, so we can do four or five joint ventures compared with one development on our own.'

Taylor Woodrow brought Kilmartin on board for the development of a mix of residential, offices and a hotel on the infirmary site.

“I want to see us as the premier Scottish developer both here and south of the border ”

Iain Wotherspoon, Kilmartin Property Group

Kilmartin has also garnered notice for several high-profile Edinburgh office refurbishments. Most notably, the group acquired 40 Torphichen Street for £3.3m two and a half years ago, at a net initial yield of 8%. After extensive refurbishment it was let to occupiers such as Business AM and Scottish Life Assurance, and then sold to Britannic Assurance for £18.6m, providing a net initial yield of 6.5%.

'I think we were a bit lucky with that one,' says Kilmartin development director David Peck. 'We caught the market at the right time.'

London lights
Kilmartin has also made a foray into the central London office market. Its London debut was made in a joint venture with Premier Property Group. In a sale-and-leaseback deal with Halifax, the developers bought the freehold of 55 Strand for £8m and let the space to Halifax on a 25-year lease at £290,000 per year.

Next up is Hulton House on Fleet Street – previously part of the MEPC portfolio. Kilmartin is awaiting the leases of tenants including Reuters to fall in next September, and will refurbish the building on a speculative basis.

This is just the beginning of Kilmartin's involvement in the English capital. 'We are very keen to get more heavily involved in the London market,' says Iain Wotherspoon. 'We have had our iron in the fire, so to speak, but we are now looking at two or three other opportunities.'

He says the group hopes to have another two London office projects in joint ventures within the next six months.

He also reveals that Kilmartin is on the prowl for a permanent London address for occupation in six months' time. This office will help identify new opportunities for Kilmartin in the capital, and will work on obtaining planning for a mixed-use scheme on more than 40.5ha (100 acres) of land in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, which is owned by Kilmartin.

Expansion in London and the M25 is key to Kilmartin's 10-year strategy, as are its plans in the Midlands. Wotherspoon explains: 'I still maintain that we should, as a cornerstone of the company, always have strong representation and a close involvement with our backyard [Scotland]. But I want to see us as the premier Scottish developer both here and south of the border.'

However, he is not tempted to be a public 'premier' developer. 'I have no plans to go public,' he says firmly. 'I want to keep it!'

Up until now the group has always traded its properties after development or refurbishment. However, Wotherspoon is keen to see Kilmartin hold on to between £15m-£20m of its £60m portfolio. 'We are beginning to tuck away certain things,' he says cagily. Iain Wotherspoon


Iain Wotherspoon

Kilmartin's developments to date

* Talisker portfolio – a £30m portfolio of offices and retail premises with Teesland
* Hulton House, Fleet Street – office refurbishment with Portfolio holdings
* 55 Strand – refurbishment with Premier Property Group, then sold to CGNU for £18m
* 40 Torphichen Street, Edinburgh – refurbishment with Portfolio Holdings and sold to Britannic Assurance for £318.6m
* Riverside House, Edinburgh – ownership and marketing with Bolland Holdings
* Lismore House, Edinburgh – refurbishment extending to 2,785 sq m (30,000 sq ft) which was refurbished, let and sold
* 40 George Street – recently refurbished and currently on the market; 1,200 sq m (13,000 sq ft) with an end value of £4.5m
* Spectrum House, Edinburgh – newly constructed 3,250 sq m (35,000 sq ft) office development to be completed in August
* Portland House, Glasgow – let and sold for a value of £5.5m in 2000
* Dixons Blazes, Glasgow – an industrial complex extending to 11,150 sq m (120,000 sq ft) which was let and sold at a value of £3m
* Harbour Road, Inverness – an industrial complex of 21,510 sq m (27,000 sq ft) with an additional area of 695 sq m (7,500 sq ft) under construction
* Dyce, Aberdeen – a 2,325 sq m (25,000 sq ft) industrial estate recently acquired for refurbishment
* 2 South Muirhead Road, Cumbernauld – a 930 sq m (10,000 sq ft) retail development
* Knights Park, Tunbridge Wells – 40ha (100 acres for a business park development


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Kilmartin Property Group - Iain Wotherspoon

Kilmartin Property Group, founded in 1996, has become one of the UK’s leading private property companies with offices in Edinburgh, London, Sheffield and Manchester with further planned openings in Europe during 2008.

The Company specialises in property development, investment and active fund and asset management.

Kilmartin has over 130 projects being undertaken in 2008/9 from free-standing developments for investment or owner occupation to multi-million pound mixed-use schemes, eco towns, and transport infrastructure projects. These schemes include leisure, retail, commercial and residential uses.

The current Kilmartin development programme has an end value in excess of £ 1.3 billion and the investment portfolio will be worth in excess of £250 million by mid 2008.

In 2007 Halifax Bank of Scotland took a 50% stake in the company which leaves Kilmartin Property Group in a very strong position to capitalise on its underlying strength, depth and diversity in the current challenging market conditions.

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