CBRE Global completes maiden UK buy for Korea’s POBA

Equity from a separate account with the Public Officials Benefit Association of Korea, won via last year’s takeover of ING REIM, has been put to work in the purchase of Thames Court in the City of London.

CBRE Global Investors, the world’s largest real estate investment manager with almost $100 billion of assets under management, has acquired a large office in the City of London on behalf of Korea’s Public Officials Benefit Association (POBA).

The Los Angeles-based  firm announced today it purchased Thames Court, 1 Queenhithe in London’s Square Mile for £165 million (€205.9 million; $265 million) for the Korean account which it inherited last year when it took over ING Real Estate Investment Management (ING REIM), the real estate investment management arm of Dutch bank ING. The seller of the property was Apollo Real Estate.

ING REIM won the account to invest £170 million of POBA’s equity in the central London office market in June last year, midway through its somewhat protracted $1.2 billion sale to CBRE Global Investors. The account represented the first time the Korean public sector pension fund had committed capital to the UK property market.

It is understood to be a one-deal account, meaning this deal would conclude this particular mandate. Although only a “prudent level” of debt was used for the deal, it means the firm has not invested all the equity of the account.

The office itself, located between Cannon Street Station and Blackfriars Station, comprises 227,765 square feet of office, retail and storage space spread over six floors. It is let to the Dutch Bank, Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen Boerenleenbank BA (Rabobank Group) and Royal Bank of Canada and the retail unit is let to Etsu Café.

Gary Moore, ex-head of acquisitions for ING REIM turned senior director and head of international separate accounts at CBRE Global Investors said: “We were delighted to be appointed last year to manage POBA’s separate account and this is a significant acquisition for their first step into the UK investment market.

“The investment criteria were good quality buildings in the City core, both single and multi-let with strong long term income. Thames Court falls within these parameters and satisfies their distribution income requirement.” 

CBRE Global Investors were advised by Savills and GM Real Estate acted for Apollo Real Estate.