Samsung Life unit makes overseas investment debut in London

Samsung SRA Asset Management, a real estate investment management business of Samsung Life Insurance, has completed its first direct real estate acquisition for the Korean corporate giant in London.

Samsung SRA has acquired 30 Crown Place in the City of London via a mandate with Cushman & Wakefield Investors, the real estate investment management arm of property services firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Cushman & Wakefield announced the transaction without disclosing the price although PERE understands that £142 million (€166.6 million; $216.57 million) was paid.

The office comprises 192,000 square feet of office space let predominantly to UK law firm Pinsent Masons.

Cushman & Wakefield said in the announcement: “This represents Samsung SRA’s first overseas investment and reflects the attraction of the London market to international investors as a leading financial centre and gateway city.”

In its own research, Cushman & Wakefield reported that £2.75 billion of commercial property changed hands in the first quarter of the year. Overseas investors accounted for 71 percent of those transactions. While that total was lower than the previous quarter, the firm said it was because of a lack of properties for sale rather than a dip in investor interest.

The debut investment by Samsung SRA, which focuses mainly on core and core plus commercial real estate, comes two years after parent Samsung Life Insurance awarded a $460 million separate account to RREEF, the real estate and infrastructure investment management business of Deutsche Bank that has since been rolled into new division, Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management, to invest in the world’s gateway cities.

London was one of the cities included in its strategy but, to date, no investment for that mandate has been announced.