Saturday, March 28, 2009

Banco Sabadell Completes EUR 35.7 Million Sale Leaseback of Madrid HQ

Cushman & Wakefield Web Site - March 26, 2009

Banco Sabadell, one of Spain’s main financial institutions, has today announced the sale of its head office in Madrid in a deal brokered by Cushman & Wakefield (C&W), real estate consultants for comprehensive services. The total value of the deal came to €35.7 million.

The deal has been made on a sale and leaseback basis, which comprises the sale of the asset and its subsequent leasing by the seller. This type of deal is extremely common for institutions that wish to gain liquidity from their real estate assets. Cushman & Wakefield has recently been involved in several transactions of this nature, such as the sale of Danone’s head office in Barcelona (more than €50 million) and the sale of 12 hypermarkets owned by the distribution chain Eroski (€361 million), both in 2008.

Oriol Barrachina, Managing Partner of Cushman & Wakefield in Barcelona, commented “This deal demonstrates that although there has been a significant decrease in activity in the investment market, there is still a strong interest in deals that involve a good location, a good tenant and a good contractual term”.

The Sabadell building is located at number 71 Calle Serrano in Madrid’s Barrio de Salamanca, one of the city’s most elite districts, which not only acts as a residential area but also houses the headquarters of various financial institutions and numerous high end fashion boutiques.

With nine floors above ground, two below ground and 76 car parking spaces, the building has a constructed area of 6,800m2 and a GLA (gross leasable area) of 4,616m2. The property, which has excellent public transport links, is in an optimum condition after having undergone comprehensive renovations in 2008.

The purchaser is Metroinvest (MetrĂ³polis and La Caixa-Banca Privada.) Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Standard Chartered Offices in London Offered for £200 Million

Property Week - March 21, 2009

Vincent Tchenguiz is under offer to buy the Standard Chartered building on Basinghall Avenue in the City of London for £200m in his first UK commercial property deal since the middle of last year.

Tchenguiz’s Consensus Group is thought to have agreed to buy the 200,000 sq ft building at 1 Basinghall Avenue from a Middle Eastern consortium. The building is let to Standard Chartered on a 20 year lease that began in 2007 and which pays an annual rent of around £10m a year.

Standard Chartered originally bought the site from The City of London Unit Trust (CLOUT), the unit trust managed by Schroders and advised by Pillar Property, at the end of 2005 for around £120m.

It then soon after carried out a £170m sale and leaseback with Irish group Sloane Capital, the property investment vehicle for horse racing tycoons John Magnier and JP McManus and Limerick property investor Aidan Brooks.

Sloan Capital sold it to the Middle Eastern consortium for £207m. HSH Nordbank provided debt finance to the Middle Eastern consortium. It is thought HSH Nordbank, which has a change of control clause in its debt agreement, could potentially transfer the debt to Tchenguiz under revised terms.

A spokesman for Consensus Business Group declined to comment.

The last UK commercial purchase by Tchenguiz was in May last year when Rainlodge, ultimately owned by the Tchenguiz family trust and advised by Consensus Business Group, bought a student hall in Leeds for £10.6m from Unite, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.7%.

Consensus has also sold a number of major assets in the UK in the past two years, notably selling Shell-Mex House in the West End for £490m to American private equity firm Westbrook. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Caixa Catalunya Completes EUR 110 Million Sale Leaseback of 120 Bank Branches in Spain

Spanish News - March 18, 2009

In December, Caixa Catalunya announced that it would sell 824 branches of its 1200 commercial premises in Spain in an effort to raise cash.

On Tuesday, the Spanish savings bank has confirmed that it has sold 120 of the branches through a sale and leaseback agreement raising 110 million euros. The sale has been carried out solely through its private banking customers in an effort to offer them a valuable investment with low risk and guaranteed retrun.

Caixa Catalunya says it is offering a 6 – 6.5 per cent return on investment by paying a rent for the sold premises. The global return is estimated to be at 8.5% if the future increase of rents is considered.

The formula sale and leasback is something that is currently being highly used by Spanish banks. Banco Pastor another Spanish bank announced last week it hopes to raise 230 million euros for the sale and leaseback of 160 of its 650 branches in Spain. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RBS to Review Global Property Portfolio

Property Week - March 13, 2009

The Royal Bank of Scotland is embarking on a review of its vast operational property estate.

The beleaguered bank, which is majority owned by the UK government, is reviewing its global property contracts and is seeking consultants to advise on how it can save money and increase efficiency on its global property portfolio.

RBS, which owns global brands such as ABN Amro and NatWest, is likely to look to rationalise its estate as it cuts jobs.

It may even hive off certain elements of its business into a ‘non-core’ function.
In its 2008 results, the bank, which has cut at least 3,000 jobs, made a loss of £24.1bn – the biggest in British corporate history.

Chief executive Stephen Hester, formerly of British Land, is now looking to save costs in all parts of the business.

An RBS spokeswoman said: ‘We are constantly looking at our global property to ensure we have the optimal structure in place and that our property assets remain relevant to the needs of our businesses.

‘We have building blocks in place for a five-year strategy to restore the company to strength and our property assets will be given careful strategic thought by the new board.’

RBS’s latest results show that it spent around £1.7bn on maintaining its own property in 2008, up from £1.5bn in 2007, because it invested in developing its corporate banking branch network.

t is thought that Juliet Filose, who joined the RBS property team under director of group property Barry Varcoe last year, is leading the search and has appointed consultancy Corporate Property Advisers (CPA) to help select the new advisory team.

CPA was unavailable to comment.

The new contract is likely to take the form of an ‘integrated services’ contract, where one firm or a small group of firms cover all the necessary services across global property.

It is likely to begin with transactions management and lease advisory, and move on to other functions such as facilities management at a later date.

RBS has traditionally been ahead of the curve in managing its property costs and realising value. For example, it completed a sale and leaseback on £750m of its UK property to Telereal and Prupim at the end of 2007.

At present, DTZ and Grubb & Ellis advise RBS on a global basis and NB Real Estate, GVA Grimley and Drivers Jonas provide management advice in the UK. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Greek Government Planing EUR 800 Milion Sale Leaseback of Public Properties

PropertyEU - March 13, 2009

The Greek government plans to generate around EUR 800 mln from the sale and leaseback of 33 public properties over the next two years, following approval of the disposal programme by the parliamentary privatisation committee last week. The properties total 272,000 m2 and mainly house government ministries, tax departments and police stations.

Two pilot bids of between EUR 100 mln and EUR 200 mln will be held during 2009, while the rest will be completed by 2010 with parallel bids for packages of properties in the region of EUR 100 mln to EUR 150 mln each.

The government will guarantee the leaseback for a period of around 20 years with an option to extend the lease further or even purchase back the property at an agreed price.

Emporiki Bank, UniCredit and CBRE-Atria advised the government on the disposal programme, which is similar to state sale-and-leaseback schemes under way in Italy, Germany and Belgium. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, March 13, 2009

Banco Pastor Seeking EUR 230 Million Sale Leaseback of 160 Bank Branches in Spain / Dow Jones - March 12, 2009

Spain's Banco Pastor SA (PAS.MC) said Thursday it is planning the sale and leaseback of 25% of its branch office network, allowing the regional bank to raise approximately EUR230 million.

In a press release, Pastor said it hired consultancy Aguirre Newman for the sale of 160 of its 650 branch offices.

Many of Spain's top banks have already sold, or are in the process of selling, part or all of their branch networks, in an effort to bolster their capital bases. The sector is facing a sharp increase in loan defaults and slowing loan growth, amid an intensifying economic downturn in Spain.

Pastor said it was planning to sell off the real estate in 52 packages to local investors. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New York Times Completes $225 Million Sale Leaseback of Manhattan HQ

Wall Street Journal - March 10, 2009

New York Times Co. said it has raised $225 million in a sale-leaseback of most of its share of its 52-story Manhattan headquarters building, gaining much-needed debt relief as it tries to weather the advertising slump imperiling newspaper companies.

The New York Times struck a deal in which it will sell its share of its midtown headquarters, above, and lease it back for up to 15 years.

Under the terms of the transaction, the real-estate investment firm W.P. Carey & Co. LLC will pay the sum for the 21 floors occupied by the Times, which then will lease the space back for up to 15 years, with an option to buy it back in 2019 for $250 million. The company will use the proceeds from the sale-leaseback to retire $250 million in notes due in 2010.

The deal gives the Times the cash infusion it was seeking when it announced its plans for a sale-leaseback in December.

With more than $1 billion in debt maturing in the next couple of years and a gloomy forecast for print advertising revenue, the publisher effectively has been building a bridge to 2011, albeit at a cost. In January, it received a $250 million loan from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, and last month the Times Co. board voted to suspend the quarterly dividend.

The loan by Mr. Slim, which came with warrants for a stake in the company, carries a 14% interest rate, and the leaseback agreement calls for the company to pay $24 million in rent in the first year. At about $55 per square foot, including operating costs and taxes, the initial rent is well within the market rate, though rent payments will increase in later years.

Times Co. so far has avoided making another round of job cuts, although some Times staffers say there is mounting fear in the newsroom that cuts may be imminent. A Times Co. spokeswoman declined to comment. Job-cutting has been widespread in the industry. On Monday, McClatchy Co., owner of the Miami Herald, said it would cut 1,600 jobs, or about 15% of its work force, and reduce wages across the company. The debt-burdened company carried out successive rounds of 10% staff cuts last year.

Times Co. owned a 58% stake in the headquarters building, which was completed in 2007. Forest City Ratner, the Times's partner in developing the tower and the owner of the top floors of the building, took out a $640 million mortgage against its portion of the property in 2007.

As falling revenues have coincided with looming debt obligations and tightening credit, some critics say the Renzo Piano-designed building has become a symbol of bad timing for Times Co., which sold its old headquarters building in 2004 for $175 million to Tishman Speyer Properties LP. Tishman Speyer later sold it for three times that amount. Times executives have said they couldn't have foreseen the subsequent explosion of real estate.

Advertising revenue has fallen sharply at the Times, as it has at other newspaper publishers, leading Times Co. to take a number of steps to conserve cash. Besides cutting and later suspending the quarterly dividend, it recently announced it is trying to sell its nearly 18% stake in the company that owns the Boston Red Sox. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Burlington Coat Factory Seeking Sale Leaseback of Two Distribution Centers in NJ - March 9, 2009

The Burlington Coat Factory has put its massive Cooper Street distribution center and its Burlington Township corporate headquarters up for sale but plans to lease back most of the space once the buildings are sold.

The company has hired Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based financial and professional services firm, to market and sell the combined 1.25 million-square-foot, two-building industrial portfolio, according to a news release posted on JLL's Web site.

The corporation's Burlington facility, located on Route 130 North, will be partially occupied and leased back by Burlington Coat Factory as its corporate headquarters for a term of 10 years with renewal options, according to the release. The release also states about 380,000 square feet of warehouse space at the Burlington facility is expected to become available to another tenant in July.

The release indicated the Edgewater Park facility would be leased back to Burlington Coat Factory if sold.

Brian Smith, a spokesman for JLL, said last week his firm is not prepared to discuss any further details regarding the properties.

Construction on the Edgewater Park distribution center began in 2001 at a cost of $30 million and the facility opened in 2003, shipping merchandise to 427 stores in 44 states and Puerto Rico.

The formerly family-owned Burlington Coat Factory was sold to a private equity firm, Boston-based Bain Capital Partners, for $2.06 billion in 2006.

Edgewater Park entered into a 30-year tax-abatement program or PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with Burlington Coat Factory in 2002. Under the agreement, the Coat Factory paid the township $147,500 a year for the first five years. Payments increase 3.3 percent a year (beginning in 2008) until the 31st year, 2034, when the property will be subject to the township's regular tax rate.

Mount said even if the building ultimately ends up being owned by another company, it should not affect the agreement as long as the building still serves the same purpose.

According to the JLL release, the Edgewater Park facility is undergoing $21 million in capital investments including new racking and sprinkler systems, mechanical and electrical upgrades and other site work expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year.

According to CoStar Group, a commercial real estate information company, 2009 has seen a flurry of industrial transactions as national retailers looked to unload corporate headquarters and distribution facilities.

CoStar reports that partial leaseback transactions - in which a company sells an entire building or portfolio but only leases back certain buildings or portions of buildings - are on the rise as shrinking companies work to economize on space and operating costs. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, March 09, 2009

2009: Year of the Leaseback

Property Week - March 6, 2009

Troubled occupiers are looking to raise funds by selling and leasing back their properties.

Last month it emerged that Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) was in talks with global fund manager RREEF to sell and leaseback €1bn (£894m) of its property assets. The Spanish banking group, which last month sold its Madrid headquarters to German fund manager Deka in recent weeks, was following in the footsteps of its Italian counterpart, UniCredit. In January, it banked a €280m (£250bn) profit when it placed a domestic portfolio, including its Milan headquarters, into a fund, sold 62% to investors and agreed to lease the properties back for 18 years.

Over the last few weeks more companies have announced they are looking to do the same, now that their access to traditional sources of cash has been closed off. Real estate sales could be the only way to raise capital, as the debt markets look set to remain closed for the rest of the year and bond issues are so expensive that they are no longer cost-effective – assuming the firms issuing bonds can find buyers for them in the first place.

In a bid to refinance its debts, the New York Times Company is set to raise $225m (£157m) from investment firm WP Carey by selling part of its Manhattan headquarters. European manufacturer Infineon Technologies also said last month that it is considering doing the same.

The recent spate of activity began in January 2008 with Banco Santander’s disposal of almost all its properties in Spain. It sold the portfolio for €4.4bn (£3.9bn) and generated a net capital gain of €1.7bn (£1.5bn), €281m (£251m) more than it expected.

Since then, CB Richard Ellis estimates that 600 deals were completed across Europe, which represented 19% of all transactions for the year. John Wilson, head of CBRE’s corporate strategies group for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, believes this trend will continue in 2009, and says the firm is about to put €3bn (£2.7bn) of sale and leaseback property on the market.

Wilson says leasebacks are becoming increasingly popular not only with banks, but with manufacturing and pharmaceutical firms too. ‘The manufacturing industry has probably been the worst hit,’ he says. ‘It was continuing to make things in the hope that the economic downturn would be a short blip, instead of trading down or trying to reduce costs. But when the banks foundered, the drawbridge went up and corporations could not borrow the money they needed. Now they are stuck.’

Wilson says real estate sales can be the most cost-effective option for companies, despite the fall in property prices.

‘The advantage of sale and leasebacks is you don’t have to pay the money back,’ he says. Wilson adds that CBRE is receiving an unprecedented number of enquiries from firms that are looking to sell, even though they realise they may do so at discounts to book values.

In the US, professional services firms are anticipating the same. ‘There is hesitation right now because corporations are unsure of how to price their assets,’ says Peter Capuciati, executive vice-president of tenant representation firm Studley. ‘There is no market to mark to. But I think this will be momentary and companies will come to accept lower valuations because they have to. Real estate is the only game in town.’

Hope over experience

But aspirations alone do not a market make. The lack of finance for any kind of transaction means that sale and leasebacks, like any other type of deal in the present market, will not be easy for investors to complete.

Buyers are still reliant on the debt markets, and are more wary than ever before of the risk of tenants defaulting. This means they are being highly selective.

Tom Quigley, managing director of WP Carey, says the firm is looking globally for sale and leasebacks, but he is sceptical that there is enough cash to meet the demand. ‘We are seeing more deals [on offer], but there isn’t enough capital around to satisfy it,’ he says. ‘The lack of finance makes it hard to get deals done.’

Quigley says the lack of debt will preclude many corporations from being able to offload their property. ‘For many buyers, a deal will only make sense if you can borrow a substantial amount of the purchase price,’ he says.

General Motors is one company that appears to have been frustrated in its attempts to sell and leaseback its assets. In November, the carmaker put $750m (£524m) of properties on the market, including its Renaissance Center headquarters in Detroit. But it has not sold any of these properties to date.

Julian Lyon, manager of European real estate at General Motors, agrees that lack of finance is an obstacle. ‘The sale-and-leaseback market was better two years ago because there were more buyers with cash and substantial debt finance,’ he says. ‘The pool of buyers for these deals is very small because buyers are looking for chunky yields to reflect the absence of debt.’

With €1bn (£894m) of equity to invest in Europe and $2bn (£1.4bn) to invest in Asia, property fund manager MGPA is one would-be buyer. But the economic climate has deterred it from deals that involve a lease to a single tenant.

Alex Jeffrey, CEO of MGPA’s European operations, says: ‘We have looked at a number of portfolios, but we are often concerned about the tenant’s covenant. The companies that need to sell owner-occupied properties today are often those with lower creditworthiness. But even for stable companies, there is a higher risk of default because of the economic downturn. This is the factor that will restrict the markets.’

German open-ended fund manager Union Investment is also on the lookout for opportunities. In December, it bought the Portico building in Madrid and leased it back to tourism firm Grupo Marsans. Union says it is ‘deeply interested’ in deals in good locations for properties that can accommodate various uses, but says it is finding it hard to uncover good deals.

Karl-Joseph Hermanns-Engel, managing director of Union, says: ‘First-class investments are not readily available at the moment. For us, credit assessment is getting more and more important. And because these deals are often for a single tenant, we have to check risk very thoroughly.’

Default danger

For many would-be investors, the collapse of Lehman brought home the risk of tenant default. Quigley says WP Carey is seeking deals with ‘recession-resilient companies’ – such as utilities firms and food retailers, which do not rely on discretionary spending – and that it is avoiding riskier operations such as car retailers. ‘We were always very credit-focused, but in the current climate we are only seeking deals with high-quality companies.’

The chaos surrounding valuations has also made it difficult for owner-occupiers to know what prices they should be asking for. However, Quigley says he is seeing a lot of properties on offer at initial yields of 8% or more.

‘We walked away from deals because pricing was too aggressive, and have since been proven right,’ he says. ‘The debt markets are still as fragile as they were in 2008. But we are seeing some deals with good-quality assets and at prices which make sense.’

Though corporations are turning to the property markets, many are likely to be thwarted in their attempts to dispose of assets and raise the cash they need. Until the banks start lending again, only a few lucky owner-occupiers will find the help they need from real estate. And when the debt market does return, selling assets may not be such a good opportunity. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Saks Fifth Avenue Mulling Sale Leaseback of a Portion of its US Store Portfolio?

Bloomberg - March 4, 2009

Saks Inc. Chief Financial Officer Kevin Wills told investors the unprofitable luxury retailer has “very valuable” real estate assets it could tap to raise money if needed.

Easier said than done. Plunging real estate prices and tighter credit markets would make it difficult for New York-based Saks to harness the value of its properties, according to Dan Fasulo, managing director of Real Capital Analytics; Richard Hastings, who tracks the consumer industry for Global Hunter Securities LLC; and retail analyst Patricia Edwards.

Saks, which had $10 million in cash at yearend, would most likely try to use its real estate as collateral for borrowing if it requires additional funding, Hastings said. It alternatively may seek to sell and lease back its most valuable properties, including the Fifth Avenue flagship store, or try to use the real estate to lure a buyer for the company, he said.

Lender agreements allow Saks to pursue the sale and leaseback of some properties, CFO Wills said on a conference call last week. The company has “ample capacity” under a revolving credit facility, he said.

‘Very Valuable’

“We’re going to be free cash flow positive,” he said. “But we also realize that if we needed to do something, we have very valuable real estate that provides us flexibility.”

Saks owns 30 of its 53 Saks Fifth Avenue locations, including stores in Chicago, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and Atlanta. It listed its property and equipment at $1.06 billion as of Jan. 31, compared with a $301 million market value at today’s close.

A year ago, Saks’s market value was twice its book value. The stock fell 13 cents, or 5.8 percent, to $2.12 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

In today’s real estate market, lenders will advance a maximum of 50 percent of value, compared with 80 percent before, said Jeff Bloomberg, a principal at financial advisory firm Gordon Brothers Group LLC in Boston.

“While there is still value there, it cannot be as great today as it was two years ago,” Bloomberg said.

Flagship Store

The retailer’s 350,000 square-foot Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan is now worth $550 million to $600 million, down from as much as $800 million a year ago, according to Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the retail leasing and sales group at Prudential Douglas Elliman in New York.

The drop in values and credit crunch mean the retailer may not be able to negotiate favorable terms for borrowing, said Hastings, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. A sale-leaseback, would be viewed negatively by investors, who don’t like to see assets wiped off a balance sheet, he said, adding that he is “skeptical” that the company can find a buyer.

Saks spokeswoman Julia Bentley declined to comment on the possible scenarios.

Tiffany & Co. sold and leased back its primary locations in London and Tokyo in separate transactions for $477 million in 2007.

Sales of properties in the U.S. retail sector plunged 74 percent in 2008 from a record the previous year, according to Real Capital Analytics, a real estate data provider.

“The luxury segment of commercial real estate got hit exceptionally hard,” New York-based Fasulo said.

Clearing Inventory

Saks is getting slammed as wealthy consumers spend less on designer apparel and handbags. It reported a fourth-quarter loss Feb. 25 that was almost double analysts’ estimates after it took 75 percent markdowns to clear inventory. The retailer, which competes with Nordstrom Inc. and Neiman Marcus Group Inc., forecast a 20 percent sales decline at stores open at least a year for the first half of 2009.

Chief Executive Officer Stephen Sadove dismissed speculation on the call last week that the retailer would file for bankruptcy. He said it would hear out proposals and may choose to not exercise a so-called poison pill that limits holdings to less than 20 percent, which it reinstated in November after Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim disclosed an 18 percent stake.

Saks expects to have enough liquidity through this year under its $500 million revolving credit facility, which matures in September 2011, and on which it had $157 million outstanding as of Jan. 31, Bentley said, reiterating executives’ comments from the call.

“Two years ago, it probably would have worked perfectly” to extract value from the Saks real estate, Edwards said. “But the rose-colored glasses have been removed.” Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Fletcher Closes $36 Million Sale Leaseback of Head Office in Aukland

Scoop / Bayleys - March 2, 2009

One of the country’s largest privately-owned property development companies has bought Fletcher Building’s head office complex in Auckland in a transaction worth $36 million – the biggest commercial and industrial property sale in New Zealand so far this year.

Fletcher Building has entered into a sale and long-term lease back of the suite of properties located at 810 Great South Rd in Penrose to Tauranga-based Carrus Corporation Ltd.

The sale includes the landmark Fletcher House, Fletcher Building’s head office, as well as a number of other office and industrial buildings located on 2.2 hectares of land.

The sale was negotiated by Chris O’Brien of Fletcher Building, in conjunction with David Bayley, executive director of Bayleys Real Estate, and Ed Donald of Bayleys’ Auckland office.

The property comprises approximately 17,300 square metres of predominantly office accommodation, with the balance being industrial space with a significant area of under utilised land available for future development. Fletcher companies have occupied the site for the last 65 years and a lease back arrangement will see the company remain on site for the long-term.

Fletcher Building and Carrus Corporation have developed a heads of agreement that will enable joint venture site development in the future. Carrus Corporation Ltd, led by managing director Paul Adams, has a 20-year history of land and property development.

It has been the driving force behind a substantial number of residential subdivision projects in Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, Rotorua, Hamilton, Taupo, Palmerston North and Wellington, where the company has also developed an apartment complex on Oriental Parade.

Commercial developments to date include the Porirua Megacentre, and a number of Wellington projects - the Stout Street car park and the refurbishment of the State Insurance Building and Buckle St National Museum, now part of Massey University.

Adams said the Fletcher Building site acquisition was a logical fit for Carrus - enabling the company to secure a prime freehold investment property with further development potential and occupancy by one of New Zealand's blue chip companies.

Fletcher Building property advisor Chris O’Brien said the divestment of 810 Great South Road would enable the company to further focus on its key income producing business activities.

“We look forward to exploring expansion and development options for the site with Carrus in the years to come, as Fletcher Building expands its activities and Carrus identifies best purpose long-term uses for the vacant land adjacent to the existing commercial premises,” O’Brien said.

David Bayley said the Fletcher Building offering attracted interest both nationally and internationally.

“We offered the property for sale by invitation, and in addition to approaching investment and development companies within New Zealand, we also had a number of parties from South East Asia and the United States looking seriously at it,” Bayley said.

“The fall in both the New Zealand dollar and domestic interest rates, combined with the high income returns from New Zealand commercial property, is generating more enquiry from offshore. We expect that offshore interest to gather further momentum in 2009 – particularly from South-East Asian investors who are typically counter-cyclical with their buying patterns.” Sphere: Related Content

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