Transactions - AUGUST 22, 2017

SEA Holdings completes Old Broad Street buy in London

by Andrea Waitrovich

Hong Kong–listed SEA Holdings has completed the £258 million ($334.4 million) acquisition of 33 Old Broad St., in the City of London, from Evans Randall.

The 191,000-square-foot office marks the second property acquisition in London for the group after one of its subsidiaries, Asian Growth Properties, last year bought 20 Moorgate, a prime City of London office let to the Bank of England for £155 million ($199 million).

The office property at 33 Old Broad St. is let entirely to the Bank of Scotland, serving as the City of London headquarters of banking and insurance firm HBOS.

Built in 1997 by British developer Helical Bar (now Helical), the property was sold to Evan Randall in 2006 for £197 million ($364 million).

In the first six months of 2017, Chinese investors spent £3.96 billion ($5.10 billion) on London commercial property, according to CBRE. It is the highest amount on record and outpacing the £2.69 billion ($3.45 billion) spent during 2016. And Hong Kong investors accounted for 92 percent of the Chinese investment, according to the Knight Frank agency.

China’s State Council issued new rules on Friday, restricting overseas investments by Chinese entities, which specifically target transactions involving real estate, hotels and other areas.

The circular, Guidelines on Further Guiding and Regulating Overseas Investments, was approved by the equivalent of China’s cabinet, and jointly attributed to the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the People’s Bank of China.

The State Council’s circular explains that the new guidelines, which group investments into categories to be “encouraged,” “limited,” and “prohibited” are provided “to strengthen the macro guidance of overseas investment, to further guide and regulate overseas investment, to facilitate the continuous, orderly and healthy development of overseas investment, to effectively guard against all types of risks, and to better meet the needs of national economic and social development…”

The circular directs local governments and ministries, in the case of real estate and other restricted industries, to “guide companies to invest in a prudent manner, and give the necessary guidance and reminders based on the specific situation.”

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