HONG KONG/LONDON Henderson Global Investors, which froze its open-ended UK property fund in the wake of Brexit, has sold one of its prized London office properties to Chinese developer China Vanke, the buyer said on Thursday.
While UK property funds were hit by heavy redemptions after Britain's June 23 vote to leave the European Union as investors feared investment and property values in the UK would slow, some Chinese developers have been taking advantage of a weak British currency to buy assets in Britain.
Vanke, in a statement, confirmed media reports that it had purchased Ryder Court in Mayfair from UK-based Henderson Global Investors for 115 million pounds ($154 mln).
The building was the second top investment, as of July 31, in Henderson's 3.9 billion pound UK PAIF Property Fund, one of seven UK property funds that had suspended trading post Brexit.
The asset manager has previously had to sell seven assets since suspending the fund, including a distribution unit in Manchester and a Bath office property, to boost its liquidity.
The fund, which is also in talks to sell the London headquarters of British private bank Coutts, is still to resume trading.
Henderson bought Ryder Court for 82 mln pounds in November 2013 and the property was valued at 101.5 million pounds as of last November, according to the annual and interim disclosure reports from the Henderson fund.
The deal with Vanke represents a yield of 4.3 percent, a separate source told Reuters.
Vanke, currently embroiled in a high-profile power struggle, has one other UK property investment, a residential project in London, which it invested in jointly and which was launched early this year.
Chinese developers have stepped up UK investments as they diversify from a slowing home market.
Country Garden, China's third-largest property developer by sales, has signed a preliminary agreement to invest up to $2.7 billion in the British city of Birmingham, Chinese state media Xinhua reported on Wednesday.
The value of office properties in London's central and West End areas which include Mayfair fell by 3 percent in July, according to the closely-watched IPD real estate index by MSCI.
($1 = 0.7490 pounds)
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru, Carolyn Cohn in London and Clare Jim in Hong Kong; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Susan Fenton)