Safra Group Acquires London’s Gherkin
11 November 2014 by Leon Pascal
Further to our post in August describing the circumstances surrounding the then-impending sale of one of London’s most distinctive buildings, we can now report that the Gherkin has been sold for over £700m to the Safra Group (‘Safra’), the predominantly banking and financial services network of companies chaired by Brazilian billionaire Joseph Safra.
It is understood that Savills (property agents) and Deloitte (receivers) handled interest from more than 200 parties before selling to Safra for £726m, giving Safra an estimated yield of 3.8%.
Despite Safra releasing a statement post-completion stating: ‘The acquisition of 30 St Mary Axe is consistent with our real estate strategy of investing in properties that are truly special – at the best locations within great cities’, the acquisition is indicative of Safra’s varied investment appetite. In October 2014, jointly with Brazilian orange juice group Cutrale, Safra closed the $1.3bn acquisition of Chiquita, the leading distributor of bananas in the United States of America.
Safra believes that the Gherkin offers ‘excellent value growth potential’ and it intends to make the building even more desirable through ‘active ownership that will… benefit tenants’. Original anchor tenant Swiss Re remains one of the principal tenants, occupying half of the 50,000 sq m of office space, alongside American law firm Kirkland & Ellis.