KIA-backed St Martins to sell £900m UK portfolio

St Martins, the UK real estate investment arm of sovereign wealth fund, the Kuwait Investment Authority, is to switch its investment strategy to focus on trophy assets. In so doing, it plans to offload £900m of real estate currently on its books.

A London-based real estate investment company backed by the Kuwait Investment Authority is planning to sell £900 million (€1.19 billion; $1.4 billion) of UK real estate as it switches investment strategy to focus solely on trophy assets.

The firm would not comment on the matter but it is understood to be bringing a 25 year-long programme of purchasing and developing assets across the country ranging from secondary shopping centres to industrial properties and small offices, to a close.

It has appointed UK property agent Savills to market sales of the assets however whether a complete portfolio sale is possible or is unclear at present and the assets may need to be sold in smaller portfolios or individually.

A number of St Martins core, city centre assets in London will not be sold. These include the Willis building, a 496,000 square foot office which was acquired in 2008 for £400 million.

The decision to sell comes around the same time St Martins’ managing director of property investment and asset management, Nigel Brown, resigned from his role amid a senior executive restructuring. Brown had been with the firm for more than 30 years. It is currently unclear what he will do next.

St Martins, purchased by KIA in 1974, is the combination of numerous mergers between UK companies over decades. It currently controls more than 1 million square metres of real estate. KIA is the world’s fifth largest sovereign wealth fund with estimated assets under management of more than $200 billion.