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Fri 16 Dec 2011 09:57 AM

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Kuwait snaps up former site of London stock exchange

Real estate investment arm inks $271m deal for property in London's financial district

Kuwait snaps up former site of London stock exchange
London Stock Exchange

British property group Hammerson has sold a property in London's financial district to the real estate arm of Kuwait for £176m ($271m).

The 19,900 sq m property at 60 Threadneedle Street is on the site previously occupied by the London Stock Exchange, Hammerson said in a statement.

Completed by Hammerson in January 2009 at a cost of £124m, the building provides nine storeys of office accommodation with tenants including Talbot Underwriting, Universities Superannuation Scheme, Berenberg Bank and The Toronto Dominion Bank, it added.

The freehold has been sold to St Martins Property Investments Limited, the UK-based real estate investment vehicle of Kuwait, the latest in a long line of London office deals to GCC-linked firms.

Last month, a new study revealed that City of London office properties are more attractive to foreign investors than ever before.

The 'Who Owns the City' report by Development Securities Plc said Middle East owners of the Square Mile office stock had expanded to six percent.

Foreign investors now own 52 percent of the City of London office stock, growing from eight percent in 1980, the report added.

The study, researched by the University of Cambridge, revealed that the City of London office market has displayed remarkable resilience to the 2008 global economic downturn.

More than five billion pounds of property is on the market in the City and Canary Wharf financial districts.

Other buildings on the market include Peterborough Court, the London home of Goldman Sachs, a Canary Wharf block housing Credit Suisse and a one billion pound portfolio of four properties being sold by German fund Kanam that includes Deutsche Bank's London home.

David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson, said:“We have a clear strategy for London offices of creating high quality property through asset management and development, then recycling capital to realise value.

"This disposal will allow Hammerson to crystallise significant development profits and further enhance our financial flexibility for future refurbishment, development and acquisition opportunities."