Taiwan’s third largest insurer Shin Kong Life said it is close to investing up to £300m (€430m) in an office property in London.
The acquisition, if successful, would mark the first step of its $1bn overseas property investment plan, according to Sunny Hsu, senior vice president at Shin Kong Life.
“We have been studying the London market,” he said, adding that the pace of the investment would depend on whether the insurer is able to find suitable assets.
Hsu declined to name the assets being targeted, despite some reports suggesting it is buying Thames Court at 1 Queenhithe Street, currently owned by South Korea’s Public Officials Benefit Association (POBA).
“We are looking at many targets and we are yet to decide on any one particular as reported by some media channels.”
The life insurance company had already applied for approval for its new overseas real estate quota with Taiwanese authorities after its board of directors agreed to the plan.
The company is also looking at the Tokyo property market, although Hsu said that it has been “relatively more aggressive” in London due to its “better supply.”
He said Shin Kong’s chairman Eugene Wu had also visited the UK recently, indicating that the company is moving fast on its goal to diversify into European markets.
A unit of the Shin Kong Financial Holdings, Shin Kong Life is the second largest landlord in Taiwan after Cathay Life with roughly 10% of assets currently held in domestic real estate.
Asked if Shin Kong would rebalance its real estate strategy by cutting domestic properties and increasing its offshore, Hsu said: “This is quite possible.”