UBS seeks sub-lets for Frankfurt opera tower

FRANKFURT Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:13pm EST

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FRANKFURT Nov 12 (Reuters) - UBS is looking to sub-let office space in its landmark 168 metre high OpernTurm tower in Frankfurt in a reflection of the Swiss bank's scaled-back ambitions in the harsher environment for lenders.

UBS unveiled plans on Oct. 30 to fire 10,000 staff and wind down its fixed income business, returning to its private banking roots as it adapts to tough capital rules that make it harder to turn a profit from trading.

The Swiss bank, which has been the main renter in the modern luxury office block since the building opened in 2010, had planned for a growing number of employees when it signed the lease agreement for its German headquarters building in 2006, in the boom days of banking. It had around 1,100 employees in the Frankfurt area at the time.

"We have asked a broker to find a sub-tenant for the empty space," the bank said in a statement on Monday.

A UBS spokeswoman declined to say how much office space the lender was seeking to give up or how much money it hoped to save.

Finding a sub-renter may be difficult, however, with top-end rents of nearly 40 euros ($50.84) per square metre for high quality office space in Frankfurt, like the OpernTurm.

UBS initially rented about 31,000 square metres or about half the total space of the building, which stands across the street from Frankfurt's prestige Alte Oper concert hall, built in 1880. ($1 = 0.7868 euros) (Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Kathrin Jones, writing by Jonathan Gould; editing by Louise Heavens)

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