Chinese firm acquires Lloyds Banking Group headquarters for undisclosed sum
A Chinese investment group has snapped up the Lloyds Banking Group's headquarters for an undisclosed sum in the second major foreign property deal to be announced this week.
Hengli Investments Holding Group has signed a 20-year lease on the property at 25 Gresham Street in London, which has housed the UK bank since it was constructed.
The 119,742 square foot site is the Hong Kong investor's first UK purchase, according to business law firm Addleshaw Goddard, which helped advise Hengli on its acquisition.
The deal took less than four weeks to negotiate, Hengli's chairman, Chen Chang Wei, said.
The firm is now keeping an eye out for further investments in London.
"This is a brilliant outcome after a lot of careful research and site inspections," the chairman said.
"As this is such a rare commercial property, we are particularly happy to have reached a swift mutual agreement with the seller, closing the tender in only a month.
"We will continue to consider any remarkable property investment opportunities locally and internationally."
It is the second Chinese company to confirm a major commercial deal this week, as Asian demand for London property continues to grow.
Cheung Kei Group forked out £270 million for a Canary Wharf tower that is currently let to businesses including US banking giant JP Morgan, which rents 10 floors, as well as Time Inc, American Express, Balfour Beatty and Cision Gorkana.
The company bought the site - at 5 Churchill Place - from Said holdings.
Earlier this year, Hong Kong food conglomerate Lee Kum Kee spent £1.3 billion buying out Canary Wharf Group's and Land Securities's 50% stakes in the "Walkie Talkie" skyscraper in June.
London's landmark "Cheesegrater" building was also sold in March to the investment vehicle of Chinese property magnate Cheung Chung Kiu for £1.15 billion.
Commenting on the Lloyds Banking Group lease, Addleshaw said it was encouraging to see deals of this size coming through despite the potential for "geopolitical factors" to dampen investment.
Lee Sheldon, Addleshaw Goddard's co-head of real estate, said: "We are certainly seeing a continuing appetite for investment and the deal pipeline remains healthy despite tough market conditions.
"We are likely to see more transactions of a similar ilk in the coming months, with more money expected to pour into the UK, chiefly from Asia-based investors."