Chinese property giant to make maiden investment in the City

Kasmira Jefford
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CHINA’S largest property developer by market value is set to make its first foray outside of the country after putting in an offer to buy One Finsbury Circus in the City for £152m.

China Overseas Land & Investment is close to signing a deal to acquire the freehold of the Grade II listed block, designed by Sir Edward Lutyens in the 1920s for BP, then known as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

The sale comes just 18 months after Invesco bought the 210,000 square foot property from Hermes Real Estate and LaSalle Investment Management for £141.5m.

Tenants include law firm Stephenson Harwood and Alvarez & Marsal, the restructuring experts.

Foreign first-time buyers have been flocking to the London office market seeking stable assets with long-term incomes amid the uncertainty in the global financial markets.

Last year overseas investors accounted for 60 per cent of total turnover in central London of £9.1bn.

Foreign first-time buyers accounted for a third.

In October, the property arm of Japanese telecoms firm Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corporation bought 20 Finsbury Circus for £42.5m.

China Overseas is a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation. The high-end developer is listed in Hong Kong and has a market value of HK$188bn (£15bn).

It is being advised by CBRE.