Sabtu, 11 Maret 2017

Malaysia's Tabung Haji Buys Centrica's HQ in London

PHA3M --  Pilgrim fund Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) is believed to have bought the headquarters of Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, that is located in Windsor, Britain.

The purchase was done via syariah-compliant investment bank, Gatehouse, that is based in London.

Gatehouse’s intention to purchase the office building was reported in October 2016 by CoStar News.

Sources said Gatehouse, acting on behalf of LTH, completed the deal at the end of last year, purchasing Centrica headquarters for £56.25mil.

The purchase price represented an annual yield of 5.7%. Windsor is about 50km west of London.

According to sources, the seller was Britain-based TH Real Estate, one of the largest real estate investment managers in the world.

TH Real Estate manages about 80 funds and its mandates span both debt and equity across diverse geographies, sectors, investment styles and vehicle types, according to its website.

LTH did not respond to emails about the matter over the past two weeks.

A source said there are between seven and 10 years to the lease and the tenant has an option to renew it for the 121,320-sq-ft office building.

The source said it was “a good purchase” although valuations are pretty high today.

LTH is also said to be considering another purchase, 129 Wilton Road, London, which has a net lettable area of about 70,000 sq ft.

“They like it because it has a 5.25% net initial yield and a capital value of £1,072 per sq ft at this point,” the source said.

The asking price for the eight-storey building in Victoria is about £73mil. Its tenants include events organiser IQPC, with Premier Oil E&P being the main tenant.

While LTH is keen on buying, the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) Whitefriars, 65 Fleet Street, London, is on offer to a buyer for between £160mil and £165mil, according to a source.

The EPF had bought this property for £148mil from German-based fund Union Investment in 2011 and is asking £170mil for it. A property consultancy is acting on behalf of the EPF, a source confirmed last week.

The lease for the 225,000-sq-ft office is until 2021 and offers a yield of 5.75%. It is currently the headquarters of law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which has confirmed it would be moving out, said a source.

Whitefriars has been on the market since 2015, according to previous StarBiz reports.

According to sources in StarBiz’s reports in January, the Whitefriars building needs refurbishment works and would not be beneficial for the EPF to hold on to for the longer term.

“The EPF is a passive investor, not an active asset manager. It needs to pay dividends to contributors every year. The cost of refurbishment needed in Whitefriars represents a capital expenditure,” said a consultant.

Moreover, the refurbishment works would take a couple of years and the EPF may not have a tenant after that. Hence, it has the option to sell this building because there is still ‘a reasonable time remaining in the lease’.”

At the moment, the source said “Brexit is a consideration but not a concern. It may be in 2019. There are still a lot of investors from Asia, particularly from China. London properties will be attractive to Chinese money and Middle East oil money,” he said, adding that there was good value in Britain and the European continent.

The Financial Times reported on March 1 that Chinese company CC Land was in advanced talks to buy London’s “Cheesegrater” skyscraper for £1.02bil. The Hong Kong-listed group is seeking to buy out both British Land and Canada’s Oxford Properties. If completed, it will be the largest Chinese purchase of British property. (*)

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