Samsung Life taps Europe, Chinese investors to sell London building

  • 2017-04-12

Samsung Life Insurance Co. Ltd. is sounding out potential buyers in Europe and China for the London headquarters building of Commerzbank AG, 30 Gresham Street, which the South Korean insurer acquired for 573.5 billion won ($501 million) in 2013.

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The prime office building is fully leased to Commerzbank until 2028, and the German bank sublets part of the space to Investec, an asset management firm.

Samsung Life expects to capitalize on the post-Brexit recovery in the UK commercial real estate market, according to investment banking sources on April 11.

It bought the 30 Gresham Street in the City of London from the Government of Singapore Investment Corp in 2013. Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management’s real estate unit made the investment on behalf of the Samsung Group unit.

The planned sale comes just after an asset management arm of Samsung Life, Samsung SRA Asset Management Co. Ltd., sold 30 Crown Place, a 16-story office building in London, to a Chinese fund for 340 billion won. It earned 100 billion won in capital gains from the exit.

Samsung SRA has been expanding overseas real estate investments, raising money from other financial units of the Samsung Group, including Samsung Securities Co. Ltd.

Last year an investment fund of Samsung SRA acquired Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt, Germany’s tallest building, for 900 billion won, and bought So Ouest Tower in Paris for 400 billion won on behalf of Samsung Life and other sister companies.

By JiHoon Lee

lizi@hankyung.com

<Edited by Yeonhee Kim>