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Carlyle buys six central London properties for GBP671m

Global private equity firm the Carlyle Group has exchanged contracts on the acquisition of six central London properties, which were formerly part of the portfolio securing the White Tower 20063 plc CMBS.

The properties, which comprise the Thames Portfolio and Alban Gate (pictured) and were acquired for a total of GBP671m, total in excess of 1.6m sqft and currently generate over GBP62m of rent per annum.

60 Victoria Embankment, provides 420,000 sqft of mainly office buildings, and is fully let to JP Morgan Chase. Ludgate House is a 170,000 sqft office building located on the south bank of the Thames next to Blackfriars bridge and is fully let to United Business Media. Sampson House, located on the south bank of the Thames, comprises 350,000 sqft of office accommodation and is fully let to IBM. Millenium Bridge House, is a 200,000 sqft office building located on the north bank of the Thames in the City and is fully let to UBS. BSI tower – Located in Chiswick, West London, totals 140,000 sqft and is is fully let to BSI Management Systems Ltd. Alban Gate meanwhile, is an office property located on London Wall in the heart of the City, totalling 382,000 sqft over 22 floors. It is fully let to JP Morgan Chase.

This acquisition was made on behalf of Carlyle’s third panEuropean real estate fund, Carlyle European Real Estate Partners III, which was launched in June 2008 with EUR2.2bn of equity. Financing for the Thames Portfolio was provided by a consortium of banks led by Société Générale as Structuring Bank. Société Générale, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and ING acted as Arrangers, and ING as Facility Agents. AXA REIM participated in the financing of the Thames Portfolio. In the case of Alban Gate, Société Générale acted as Arranger and Sole Bookrunner.

“This acquisition has provided us with a rare opportunity to acquire six landmark assets in strong locations, let to a number of global high quality occupiers,” says Robert Hodges, Managing Director, Carlyle European Real Estate: “Whilst each property benefits from an existing secure income profile, there are considerable longer term opportunities across the portfolio for active asset management and redevelopment, where we believe we can add significant value.

“This acquisition is a further example of our strategy in Europe of making longterm investments in landmark assets in strategically important European centres. We are especially pleased to secure long term, flexible financing from a syndicate of strong relationship banks led by Société Générale, for such a large portfolio, especially given current debt market conditions. The profile of these assets sits well with our pan European portfolio in CEREP III and we look forward to creating value through the many opportunities which lie within these assets.”

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