Big Money Deals

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are likely to have read or been following up on the developments of Brexit — the impending divorce between the UK and EU is inevitable.

With an extension at least till April 12 and pundits speculating on the possibilities of the UK going with a deal or no deal, it’s anyone’s guess right now on what is likely to happen.

When news of the Brits voting to leave hit the stands, investors decided to take a wait and see approach, resulting in subdued demand in the property market, especially in London.

However, CSI PROP saw this as a silver lining for investors: the weak pound has drawn in global investors, despite the uncertainty created by the referendum. In fact, many institutional investors from the Asia Pacific were quick to latch on and invest in some of the best commercial properties in the UK.  

THE WALKIE-TALKIE

Hong Kong-based food company, Lee Kum Kee Group made their first purchase out of Hong Kong and China when they bought over 20 Fenchurch Street in London.

The office tower, better known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ due to its to the structure, was bought at £1.3bil — the highest price ever paid for a single building in London!

The 37-storey ‘Walkie Talkie’ is the sixth tallest building in London. Lee’s property investment arm, Infinitus bought over the tower from Land Securities Group and the Canary Wharf Group.

LKK Health Products Chairman Sammy Lee in a press statement said,  “The acquisition enables the Group to not only achieve a reasonable return from rental income but also extend its property portfolio to a major overseas financial centre for sustainable and stable capital appreciation.“As such, the property will be held by the Group as a long-term investment.”

Thomas Lam, Head of Valuation & Consultancy at Knight Frank shared that good  investment deals were mostly above HK$ 20bil in Hong Kong.

“The weaker pound, which has fallen about 20 per cent from the peak, now makes London property more affordable,” Lam added.

THE TOWER OF CANARY WHARF

Another Hong Kong-based company, the Cheung Kei Group made their second investment in London when they acquired an office building in Canary Wharf for £270mil.

Cheung Kei made their debut into the London property market in June 2017 when billionaire Chen Hongtian bought over 20 Canada Square in Canary Wharf for £410mil. This marked the biggest real estate acquisition in the financial district since 2014!

Sensing the opportunities ahead due to the slumping value of the pound, Asia Pacific investors have since flocked into the London market. According to CBRE, Asian investors contributed a total investment of £4.8bil in Q3 2017.

LONDON’S STOCK EXCHANGE TOWER



The former Stock Exchange Tower in London’s Square Mile was bought over by City Developments (CDL),  a Singapore-listed company, for £385mil.

Blackstone, the previous owner of the building had acquired it for £320mil in 2014.

The 27-storey tower, located near the Bank of England, is CDL’s second investment in London, following a £183m transaction in September 2018 for Aldgate House.

“We have confidence in the long-term fundamentals of London as a global financial hub with a robust office market. The short-term uncertainties surrounding Brexit have presented us opportunities to acquire assets with deep value,” said CDL’s Group Chief Investment Officer Frank Khoo.

CHEESE GRATER

The Leadenhall building, or better known as the “Cheesegrater” due to its wedge shape was bought by CC Land, a firm run by Chinese property tycoon  Cheung Chung-kiu.

CC Land, which also owns an office building at Canary Wharf, bought over the Cheesegrater from British Land and Oxford Properties for  £1.15bil — one of the largest property deals to be made in London.

BATTERSEA POWER STATION

Two Malaysian state-backed funds, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) bought into the iconic Battersea Power Station in London. Developed by Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC), the building was purchased for  £1.583bil —- making it the biggest property deal carried out in the UK.

Battersea Power Station was previously owned by SP Setia and Sime Property, before they disposed of their stake to PNB and EPF.  “They have acquired the commercial assets in the Power Station through a joint venture, of which they own 65% and 35% respectively” SP Setia said in a statement.

The iconic building, built in the 1930s was left in a derelict state for decades, before restoration work began in 2014.

A statement issued by PNB said, “It is currently being restored and will, on completion from end-2020, become home to hundreds of shops, restaurants, cafes, event spaces and cinemas as well as new homes, Apple’s London campus and business members club No18.”

A SILVER LINING FOR INVESTORS

These sales reiterate that the interest in UK properties remain strong, despite Britain’s vote to leave the EU in 2016. With Brexit just weeks away, the UK’s economy is likely to be in limbo for a while.

Savvy and smart investors should take heed of these institutional investors and leverage on the weak pound for attractive investment opportunities in the UK.

Major Companies Investing in Liverpool; You Should Too

Image from: https://aspenwoolf.co.uk/ropewalks-regeneration-liverpool/
Follow the money: there’s bound to be a good thing going if investors are ploughing their money into this maritime city.

Proper investments are known to give birth to a thriving economy, and in Liverpool, this scenario prevails. Some of the most active companies have invested in the improvement of this maritime city, with the most notable five doing so as partners of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and the private sector set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills to lead economic growth, job creation and maximise return of investment within the local area.

The major LEP companies referred to are Danish energy firm DONG Energy, transport giants Alstom Transport and Stagecoach, Liverpool-based museum British Music Experience and training provider South West Regional Assessment Centre.

DONG Energy, the global leader in offshore wind, has two completed projects in the Liverpool City Region. Together, the wind farms can generate enough low carbon energy to power over 310,000 homes! Matthew Wright, Managing Director for DONG Energy UK, has expressed his ambition to continue fueling growth for the low carbon sector in the city, thus painting a greener future for Liverpool.

Alstom Transport UK, on the other hand, opened their new state-of-the-art industrial facility at Widnes which provides the largest and most sophisticated train modernisation facility in the UK, alongside the Alstom Academy for Rail which will provide training for rail staff from across the North West and beyond. Stagecoach is also contributing to the expansion of Liverpool’s public transport network. With both companies at work, accessibility throughout the city is set to greatly improve.

South West Regional Assessment Centre will be offering training & development courses for individuals wanting to improve their work opportunities whilst the stunning British Music Experience opened its doors in Cunard Building, Liverpool in March 2017.

With the Liverpool City Region LEP Strategy, Liverpool is well and truly open for business. This strategy will see the possible creation of more than 100,000 new jobs, an increase of more than 50,000 people and growth of more than 20,000 businesses. It will also see a boost in Liverpool’s economy of some 50 billion pounds!

More Projects Add to the Pull of Liverpool

The £2bn vision to establish Liverpool’s 450-acre Knowledge Quarter as one of the world’s leading innovation districts has appeared in the news quite a bit. Readers are aware of the great number of students and businesses the city will attract while keeping to its roots which are planted firmly in the enhancement of the health and education sectors.

Worth mentioning is the interesting transformation within the Baltic Triangle. The derelict warehouses that trail the triangle are being converted into interesting recreational destinations and offices. Many digital agencies have also chosen to locate to Liverpool because of the creative aura running throughout the quaint zone. This redevelopment has thus produced a unique area for property investment.

Improvements are occurring all over Liverpool in various fields, attracting volumes of people from all over the world in need of homes. In this case, investors would find it beneficial to look into property investments in Liverpool, as timing could not be any better.

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