LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - 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 Pitchford