LONDON, June 20 Canary Wharf Group has sold a 1
million square foot (93,000 sq metre) building in London's
financial district to a Chinese-Qatari consortium for 795
million pounds ($1.4 billion), the group's owner said on Friday.
Qatar has built a significant presence in London's real
estate market in recent years.
Under the deal to buy the skyscraper which houses law firm
Clifford Chance, China Life Insurance Company will
own 70 percent of the building and Qatar Holding a 20 percent
stake. Songbird Estates, Canary Wharf Group's owner,
said it will retain a 10 percent interest in the property.
The purchase was financed through equity provided by the
stakeholders proportionate to their stakes, as well as through
bank loans, Songbird Estates said in a statement.
Shares in Songbird were trading 0.15 percent higher at 249
pence by 1446 GMT.
The skyscraper at 10 Upper Bank Street is rented for an
annual fee of 44.35 million pounds. It will continue to be
managed by Canary Wharf Group.
Qatar's presence in London's real estate also includes the
Shard, Western Europe's tallest skyscraper at about 310 metres
(1,016 feet). The iconic building was funded by Qatar's royal
family and opened in 2012.
A Qatari-backed plan to redevelop a central London site
next to the River Thames was earlier this month given the
go-ahead by the British government.
Under the plan, eight new buildings will be constructed in
the area around the 1960s British headquarters of oil company
Shell, near to the landmark London Eye wheel on the
south bank of the Thames, creating a 1.45 million sq ft complex
with shops and offices and 877 homes.
The Gulf Arab state's Investment Authority and China
Investment Corp are major shareholders in Songbird Estates.
($1 = 0.5864 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by James Macharia/Ruth