Aberdeen’s unfrozen property fund sells London asset to Norges Bank

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has acquired a prime London asset, capitalising on liquidity pressures facing open-ended property funds in the UK.

Aberdeen Asset Management has sold a 59,000sqft retail and office building on Oxford Street from a fund that was recently closed to redemptions.

Norges Bank Real Estate Investment Management paid £124m (€149m) for 355-361 Oxford Street, known as Sedley Place, in London’s West End.

Norges Bank, which manages the investments of the NOK7.34trn (€784bn) Government Pension Fund Global, said it signed the agreement on Friday, two days after Aberdeen ended a week-long trading suspension on its UK Property Fund. 

Aberdeen’s most recent annual report does not disclose value of property at the end of 2015, but does include Sedley Place among a number of assets valued up to £127.8m.

The company was one of a number of managers forced to suspend trading in their property funds following redemption requests from predominantly retail investors.

Norges Bank said the asset is a long leasehold from the City of London Corporation, with 139 years remaning.

Retail chain Boots is the main tenant and also occupies some of the office space in the building.

Partners Group co-head of private real estate Claude Angéloz recently said the ‘gating’ of UK property funds offers potential investment opportunities.

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