REAL ESTATE - Reinsurance firm Swiss Re has sold its landmark London headquarters in St Mary Axe to – known to Londoners as The Gherkin – to German property firm IVG for £630m (€950m).
IVG acquired the building for one of its Euroselect funds mainly targeting retail investors. Spokesman Peter Müller said it had not yet decided which. "It’s still in the conception stage," he said.
Swiss Re, which will remain the principal tenant, said in a statement that its decision to sell to IVG had been driven in part by the latter’s record in managing properties.
IVG acted in a joint venture with Evans Randall, an unlisted investment bank specialising in structured finance that is relatively new to real estate. "The volume was too big for just one buyer," said Müller.
A spokesman for Evans Randall said it was interested in "trophy buildings with fixed uplifts". Its current portfolio includes ABN Amro’s UK headquarters and ING’s headquarters in The Hague.
He added than an investor base of high net-worth private investors offered gearing potential that enabled the firm to "pay highly and quickly".
Although Evans said in a press statement that it would offer 50% of the asset to all kinds of investors, the emphasis is apparently on retail rather than institutional, although the spokesman said: "They’ll speak to anyone they think will be interested."