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Mark Gilbert

London's Most Suggestive Building Goes Bust

A basic tenet of finance is that assets should match liabilities. How did the owners of London's landmark Erotic Gherkin tower get it so wrong?
What was the designer of this building thinking? Photographer: Graham Barclay/Bloomberg News.
What was the designer of this building thinking? Photographer: Graham Barclay/Bloomberg News.

A basic tenet of finance is that you typically want the currency in which you have to pay liabilities to be the same as the currency that you have coming into your bank account from your assets. So how did the owners of London's landmark office building, known variously as the Erotic Gherkin and the Towering Innuendo, get it so wrong?

Back in 2007, a fund managed by IVG Immobilien AG and Evans Randall Ltd. bought the London building, known officially as 30 St. Mary Axe, from reinsurer Swiss Re Ltd. for about 600 million pounds ($1 billion). Its outre shape inspired its nicknames.