Asian investors eye HSBC’s headquarters in London

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 2:54pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 5:50pm

The sale of HSBC's headquarters at Canary Wharf in London is expected to attract strong interest from Asian investors, the property consultant appointed to market the building said.

"Given the links between HSBC and China, I think there will be a lot of interest from Asian investors," said David Green Morgan, head of research for JLL's international capital group, which is holding presentations in Hong Kong.

The South Korean pension fund, National Pension Service of Korea, which owns the 44-storey, 1.1 million square feet tower, is set to sell it for the highest price ever paid for a building in Britain.

We've presented it ... in Beijing and will be doing it in Shanghai
David Green Morgan, JLL

"It will be about £1 billion [HK$13 billion] or so," Morgan said. "We have already presented it to groups in Beijing and will be doing it in Shanghai at the end of this week. The response is very positive."

Morgan said the company had presented the tower to 25 to 30 groups around the world. "We will present it to 20 to 30 groups in the next month or so."

The closing date for bids has not yet been set, as the owner wants to wait towards the end of next month to see how much interest has been generated.

With such a large asset, it would take five to six months before a preferred bidder emerged, Morgan said.

Apart from the HSBC headquarters, Asian investors had been showing a strong interest in Germany, Morgan said.

Asian investment in Germany's real estate market has grown by 916 per cent since 2011, to US$1.27 billion at the end of last year, including major outlays by Chinese and South Korean investors.

Chinese investment in German property has gone from nothing in 2011 to more than US$200 million last year, and JLL expects it to increase significantly this year.

Over the past three years, JLL data shows, Asian investment inflows into Germany have increased by 27 per cent in Berlin, 23 per cent in Frankfurt and 9 per cent in Munich, as well as 39 per cent in portfolio deals across several cities.

The size and stability of the German economy and the country's high-quality assets - particularly stabilised, core office investments - were rapidly making it the European destination of choice after London for Asian investors, JLL said.