July 29, 2014

Gherkin put on the market for £650m – Who’s Interested?

Dolapo Omidire

The Gherkin, formally known as 30 St. Mary Axe in the City of London has been put up for sale by joint receivers Deloitte Real Estate and Savills, and they are hoping for offers in excess of £650m. According to the Financial Times, it is thought to have a market value of at least £650m, and was bought by its current owners for £600m in 2006. Reports say there is interest in the building from across the globe, where potential buyers could include a sovereign wealth fund from the Middle East or Asia, or perhaps a large pension fund or private equity house. 

The City of London landmark which opened in 2004 was sold to IVG Immobilien and Evans Randall in 2006 from Swiss Re, whom the building was originally built for. IVG chose to dominate it’s loan in Swiss Francs, but the Franc has soared 56% against the pound since 2007, which has led to a breach of their loan to value cap since 2009. In April the consortium of banks who provided the loan were fed up and called in the receivers. The 46,900sqm 41 floor skyscraper is in good condition and has 20 tenants.

Figures from Deloitte Real Estate show that office availability in London is at its lowest level since 2007, with 45 per cent of space being built already let. Stephen Down, head of central London investment at Savills, said there was scope to increase rents at the Gherkin. He expected the sale to be concluded by mid-autumn.

Could an African private equity house or Sovereign Wealth Fund be amongst those interested? 

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