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Sofaz Buys London Office Complex in First Property Investment

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Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund, known as Sofaz, bought an office complex in London’s West End for 177 million pounds ($287 million) in its first investment in real estate to diversify reserves.

The “A” class office building erected in 1845 and fully renovated in 2003 was bought from RREEF Real Estate, the real-estate arm of Deutsche Bank, the Baku-based fund said by e-mail today. The building is leased to HSBC Bank for 9.65 million pounds until 2023.

“This newly acquired office building in London is the first in a series of planned property acquisitions in prime business districts of major cities around the world,” Sofaz’s Executive Director Shahmar Movsumov said. “The secure income that this type of investment will generate over the years coupled with strong fundamentals of prime office spaces in major world capitals are the determining factors in our investment rationale.”

The fund, established in 1999 to manage the Caspian Sea nation’s state income from oil and natural gas sales, had $33.9 billion of assets as of Dec. 1. Azeri President Ilham Aliyev decreed in October 2011 that Sofaz may invest a maximum 5 percent of the value of its portfolio each in gold, equities and real estate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku at zagayev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net

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