HNA Group
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HNA is considering selling 30 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf in London – also known as Thomson Reuters and pictured in 2012 – after buying it four years ago. Photo: Handout

China’s embattled HNA looking at dumping Reuters London office at US$130 million discount

  • HNA bought the building four years ago – before its debt troubles and before Brexit
  • Possible sale would be in keeping with HNA’s sale of assets across the globe
HNA Group

HNA Group is in advanced negotiations to sell the former UK headquarters of Thomson Reuters at a sharp discount to the price it paid for the building less than four years ago, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

UK investment manager LS Estates, which is seeking to purchase the property on behalf of an Asian client, has proposed a price of about 135 million pounds (US$176 million) for the building at 30 South Colonnade in London’s Canary Wharf district. That’s about 100 million pounds less than HNA originally paid for it, the people said.

Representatives for HNA and LS Estates declined to comment.

HNA has been selling assets across the globe as it seeks to avert a liquidity crunch. The Chinese conglomerate’s UK property holdings, which include another Canary Wharf property leased to Credit Suisse Group AG, have been among the most challenging to sell without incurring large losses given Brexit uncertainty and short leases at both buildings.

The discount to HNA’s original purchase price in September 2015 is a reflection of the fact that Thomson Reuters’ lease expires next year. The building is likely to need substantial renovation or redevelopment to attract a new tenant, as the company has already established a new UK headquarters at another nearby building in Canary Wharf.

LS Estates buys and redevelops buildings on behalf of a range of European and Asian investors, according to the company’s website. Thomson Reuters competes with Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.