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Chinese Giant Sells Canary Wharf Office At 24% Markdown To Repay Debt

17 Columbus Courtyard

Chinese conglomerate HNA has sold 17 Columbus Courtyard for £100M, a sharp discount to the price it paid for the building just three years ago.

HNA has sold the 195K SF building in Canary Wharf to Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai Investment and Australia’s Macquarie for £100M, 24% less than the £131M it paid for the building in 2016, according to Asian real estate website Mingtiandi

The building was put into receivership and listed for sale earlier this year after HNA defaulted on a loan secured against it. Savills was advising on the sale. HNA has been one of the only recent forced sellers in the London office market, where investment volumes have slowed but few investors have faced pressure to sell because the occupational market has remained steady.

HNA has been selling assets in all sectors across the globe to pay back more than $100B in debt. 17 Columbus Courtyard is let in its entirety to Credit Suisse, but the investment bank is widely expected to vacate the building. Its lease there runs until 2024.

It is the second sale at a big discount that HNA has undertaken in Canary Wharf this year. It also sold 30 South Colonnade to Chinese firm Cindat Capital and Oaktree for £135M, 60% below its 2015 purchase price.

Sun Hung Kai Investments shares a provenance with Sun Hung Kai Properties, the famous Hong Kong property company, but the two companies have no formal link other than a family heritage.

HNA is one of a number of Chinese investors including Dalian Wanda and Anbang that have been selling real estate assets abroad at the suggestion of the country's central government, which wants to avoid highly leveraged companies having a destablising effect on the country's economy. It also put a stop to almost all real estate investment from mainland Chinese companies. Cindat is a rare exception.