London's 'Walkie Talkie' sold in record £1.3bn deal

20 Fenchurch Street, the London skyscraper nicknamed the ‘Walkie Talkie’, has sold for almost £1.3bn (€1.4bn) in the UK’s largest ever office deal.

Infinitus Property Investment, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based LKK Health Products Group, bought the 37-storey building from Land Securities (Landsec) and the Canary Wharf Group, the two companies who completed its construction in 2014.

James Beckham, head of London capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield, which advised on the transaction, said: “This record-breaking deal demonstrates the enormous investor appetite in London, and in the City’s reputation as the global place to do business.

“Since the vote to leave the EU, capital targeting London from the Asia Pacific region has increased to record levels. This is partly due to currency fluctuations but is more indicative of longer-term confidence in London and investment strategies which are not derailed by short-term political uncertainty.

“As Asian economies mature, investors there are deploying capital more broadly and London’s real estate continues to be seen as the number one destination.”

In a statement, LKK said: “The acquisition enables the group to not only achieve a reasonable return from rental income, but also extend its property portfolio to major overseas financial centres for sustainable and stable capital appreciation. As such, the property will be held by the group as a long-term investment.”

Landsec said in a press release that it planned to pass on to shareholders £475m of the £641m it raised from the sale in the form of a one-off dividend.

Robert Noel, Landsec chief executive, said the sale secured “significant value”. He added: “While we will be returning cash to shareholders as a result of the sale, our gearing will remain unchanged from current levels, ensuring we retain our significant firepower. This will allow us to move quickly to capitalise on opportunities whenever they might arise.”

The building is fully leased and has more than 66,000sqm of floor space.

The deal – due to complete next month – eclipsed the record for a single UK asset, set in December 2014 when the Qatar Investment Authority bought the HSBC Tower in Canary Wharf for £1.175bn.

Infinitus owns and manages office and retail properties primarily in the central business districts of Guangzhou and Shanghai in China as well as in Hong Kong.

The UK’s biggest single-asset deals to date

 AddressPriceDatePurchaserVendor
 20 Fenchurch Street (the ‘Walkie Talkie’) £1,282.5m July 2017 LKK Landsec/Canary Wharf Group
 8 Canada Square £1,175m December 2014 QIA NPS Korea
 The Leadenhall Building £1,150m March 2017 CC Land British Land/Oxford Properties
 8 Canada Square £1,090m April 2007 Metrovacesa HSBC
 Citigroup Tower, 25 Canada Square £1,000m May 2013 AGC Quinlan/Propinvest

Source: Cushman & Wakefield

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