The City of London building that houses the Lloyd’s insurance market has been sold to Chinese insurance company Ping An in a £260m deal. The insurer is China’s second-largest, based on its number of policyholders.
Designed by architect Richard Rogers and opened in 1986, the distinctive futuristic glass-and-steel Lloyd’s building had been owned by German asset management fund Commerz Real, which bought it for £231m in 2005. Lloyd’s lease on the site, at One Lime Street, expires in 2031.
“This is a potentially landmark transaction, given it is the first by a Chinese insurance company overseas,” commented Jon Crossfield, a central London director of property firm Savills. “It is a high-profile and confident entry to the market for them and further illustrates the dominance of overseas investors in London at present.”
Roland Holschuh, a board member of Commerz Real, said: “We are delighted with the transaction and it has been a major success for our investors. The current liquidity and investor demand within the London market presented an ideal time for us to seek an exit in line with our original business plan.”
China has, however, been slower than its Asian neighbours in making significant property investments overseas. The most notable before the current deal was the £250m acquisition last year of Deutsche Bank’s London headquarters by the China Investment Corporation (CIC), the country’s £410bn sovereign wealth fund.
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