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China Insurer Buys London’s Lloyds Building for $388 Million

A Chinese insurance company has agreed to buy the Lloyd’s of London building, home of the Lloyd’s insurance market, for 260 million pounds ($388 million) from a Commerz Real AG-managed fund.

The purchase is the first by a Chinese insurer in the U.K., London-based property broker Savills Plc (SVS) said in a statement without naming the buyer. The building, designed by Richard Rogers and purchased by Commerz Real for 231 million pounds in 2005, is leased to the Society of Lloyd’s until 2031.

Ping An Insurance Group Co. (2318), China’s second-largest life insurer, is buying the Lloyd’s building, Times of London reported April 10. Two calls to Ping An spokesman Sheng Ruisheng’s office and mobile phone, were not immediately answered.

An increasing number of Chinese companies are investing in London as the city has emerged as a haven for foreign wealth with the pound’s decline. Dalian Wanda Group, the Chinese developer controlled by billionaire Wang Jianlin, announced last month that it is investing 1 billion pounds in a London site to build Western Europe’s tallest residential tower.

“The current liquidity and investor demand within the London market presented an ideal time for us to seek an exit,” Commerz Real management board member Roland Holschuh said in the statement.

ABP (China) Holdings Group Ltd., a Beijing-based Chinese developer, in May signed an agreement with London officials to transform the 35-acre (14-hectare) site at Royal Albert Dock into the capital’s third business district after the City of London and Canary Wharf.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Bonnie Cao in Shanghai at bcao4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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