Hammerson and OFI sell Bishops Square for £557 million (UK)

Hammerson plc and Oman Investment Fund, an Omani Government Investment arm ('OIF') have sold Bishops Square Holdings Limited, the 25:75 joint venture whose principal asset is the long leasehold interest in the Bishops Square office building, London E1.


Bishops Square provides 71,900 m² of office space and an additional 4,600 m² of retail space.

The JV company has been purchased by two funds managed by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and the transaction is based on a property price of £557 million (approx. €658 million). The value of the property at June 30, 2010 was £510 million, with net passing rents at that time of £35 million.

Hammerson's net proceeds from the sale of its 25% interest, including the receipt of performance payments due from OIF and after taking account of the joint venture's debt and interest rate swap, are £79 million, representing a surplus of £34 million over the June 30 book value.

Bishops Square, which was developed by Hammerson and completed in 2005, provides 71,900 m² of office space let to Allen & Overy LLP and an additional 4,600 m² of retail space. Hammerson sold a 75% stake to OIF in June 2009 and accounted for its 25% interest as an associate.

David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson, said: "This disposal fits with our strategy of creating value through portfolio management. We retained a stake in Bishops Square after the sale to Oman Investment Fund and have worked well together on the joint venture. We are capitalising on the market recovery over the last 15 months and Hammerson has released funds for investment into other office and retail developments and acquisitions."

Hassan Al Nabhani, Chief Executive Officer of OIF, said: "While OIF remains focused on medium- to long-term investments in real estate and private equity in association with quality partners, we adapt to market dynamics in an efficient manner to bring value to our shareholders. The acquisition and disposal of Bishops Square reflect this investment approach. We have worked well with Hammerson on this successful joint venture and hope to have the opportunity to work together on future projects."

Peter Reilly, Head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management's European Real Estate Group, said: "We remain bullish on investing in high-quality, well-tenanted office properties located throughout Europe's most important cities and this acquisition represents a further expansion of our funds' core property portfolio in Europe. Hammerson's development of Bishops Square is an excellent, modern headquarters with a long-lease to a single blue-chip tenant so fits our criteria perfectly."

Hammerson and OIF were advised by Clifford Chance and Jones Lang LaSalle.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management's funds were advised by Berwin Leighton Paisner and Deloitte.

Source: Hammerson

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