International Property

CC Land marks first overseas investment with £290 million purchase of office building in London

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 January, 2017, 7:26pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 January, 2017, 10:55pm

CC Land Holdings, chaired by Cheung Chung-kiu, dubbed the ‘Li Ka-shing of Chongqing’, has paid £290 million for a prime office building in London to mark its first overseas investment.

The nine-storey Grade-A office, with a net internal area of about 265,000 square feet, is located at 1 Kingdom Street, in the city’s West End. The building comes with two basement levels.

The acquisition gives the group the opportunity to diversify its investment portfolio into key gateway international cities such as London, according to a company statement filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange on January 27.

“The firm currently intends to hold the property in London for long-term investment purposes, which will enable the group to generate a stable and recurring cash flow of rental income and to capture the upside benefit from any medium-to-long term potential capital growth,” Peter Lam How-mun, deputy chairman and managing director of CC Land, said in the company statement.

The Hong Kong-based firm has cash reserves of HK$6.1 billion, according to its interim report for 2016.

Its land bank stood at 618,000 square metres of gross floor area, divided between the cities of Xi’an and Dazhou in Western China. The average accommodation value was 700 yuan per sq meter.

CC Land’s purchase in the English capital came two days after Emperor International Holdings bought a retail, office and residential project, the Ampersand Building, in London for £260 million from real estate investment firm Peterson Group.

That property, has a total gross floor area of 90,000 sq ft and is located at the corner of Oxford Street and Wardour Street, according to DTZ/Cushman & Wakefield which handled the deal.

In June, Hong Kong-listed Magnificent Real Estate, via its wholly owned subsidiary King Express Development, agreed to buy the 408-room Travelodge London Kings Cross Scot Hotel at 100 King’s Cross Road for £70.3 million

William Cheng Kai-man, chairman of Magnificent, said the firm planned to step up its presence in London to five hotels over the next five years.

Savills said overseas investors deployed more money into Central London last year than in 2015.

It said foreign investors spent £12.62 billion, accounting for 79 per cent of the £15.91 billion total in Central London in 2016.

Investors from Hong Kong poured £1.61 billion into Central London, while mainland investors deployed £1.52 billion in the city last year.

Oliver Watt, Savills director of cross border investment, said restrictions imposed by Beijing to prevent capital outflows were unlikely to pose a severe threat to property investment in London.

Watt said while mainland firms faced challenges sending money out of the country, “they can proceed with their overseas investments through other alternatives - including their Hong Kong-listed vehicles or offshore units to raise capital”.