Gherkin in a pickle: iconic tower is bust

Kasmira Jefford
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THE CITY’S iconic Gherkin tower has fallen into receivership after its owners failed to strike a restructuring deal over its mounting debt-pile, paving the way for a likely sale of the skyscraper.

Lenders to 30 St Mary’s Axe have handed the keys to receivers Deloitte after a tranche of the debt secured against the building soared as the Swiss franc strengthened against the pound.

German property firm IVG Immobilien and Evans Randall bought the tower in 2006 from insurer Swiss Re for £600m. The deal was funded by a £400m loan from five banks led by Bayerische Landesbank and first defaulted in 2009.

“The senior lenders were reluctant to appoint a receiver but felt they had no choice due to the ongoing defaults, which have remained uncured for over five years,” Deloitte partner and joint receiver Neville Kahn, said.

IVG, which fell into insolvency last year, recently sold its private funds arm, which holds its stake in the Gherkin.

But Evans Randall said it intends to keep hold of its share and has funds ready to inject into the asset. A deal could see Evans Randall taking a larger stake in the building alongside a new joint owner.

The tower, which is fully let, will continue to run as usual.

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