KIA unit agrees to £250m UK sale

The UK real estate investment arm of the $200bn Kuwait Investment Authority is poised to sell a large retail portfolio to Hammerson, the London-listed REIT. Suitors for others assets of a £900m portfolio placed on the market in September are also emerging.

St Martins, the UK real estate investment arm of sovereign wealth fund, the Kuwait Investment Authority, has agreed to sell a £250m (€293 million; $390 million) portfolio to London-listed REIT, Hammerson.

According to a report by the Financial Times, St Martins has agreed the sale of a portfolio of retail properties to Hammerson, which is believed to have succeeded in a bidding process which attracted interest from rival buyers including fellow London-based real estate giants Land Securities and British Land.

For St Martins, the sale comes amid a strategy overhaul instigated in September which will see the company switch from investing across a wide array of sectors and locations in the UK to a more direct focus on large trophy assets.

The firm is planning to sell approximately £900 million of assets in total. According to Property Week, suitors for other parts of the portfolio, which include industrial assets and small offices in addition to the retail properties, include the British Airways Pension Fund and London-based private investment firm Matterhorn Capital.

The assets are being marketed through global property agent Savills.

St Martins, a real estate investor in the UK for more than 25 years, will retain a number of core assets including the Willis building in London, a 496,000 square foot office acquired in 2008 for £400 million.

KIA is the world’s fifth largest sovereign wealth fund with estimated assets under management of more than $200 billion. It purchased St Martins in 1974.