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New Star UK Property Unit Trust completes sale of London office building

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In what it describes as a promising sign that liquidity and transaction levels have picked up in the UK commercial property market, New Star has announced the sale of 60 Gracechurch Street

In what it describes as a promising sign that liquidity and transaction levels have picked up in the UK commercial property market, New Star has announced the sale of 60 Gracechurch Street in the City of London for GBP127.5m.

The office building was sold at an initial yield of around 5.5 per cent and reflects good value for the City office market. The transaction follows a significant increase in the level of approaches received by New Star for prime City office assets, including various direct approaches and confirmed offers for 60 Gracechurch Street.

The sale follows a strategic review of the New Star UK Property Unit Trust. In light of the fund’s reduced size, New Star has sought to reduce single asset exposure in the portfolio. Part of the proceeds from the sale of 60 Gracechurch Street – the fund’s largest holding – will be invested in listed property shares to take advantage of their significant discounts. As a result of the sale, the fund’s liquidity position has risen to more than 25 per cent of total assets under management, one of the highest liquidity positions in the industry.

‘The sale of 60 Gracechurch Street is a positive sign that liquidity and transaction levels have improved in 2008,’ says Roger Dossett, New Star’s chief executive for property fund management. ‘To have achieved good value and received a high level of interest from active buyers is an encouraging sign for the UK commercial property market.’

New Star was founded in June 2000 by John Duffield, who previously founded Jupiter Asset Management, and currently has a range of 39 UK retail funds. The firm employs more than 400 people at offices in London, Dublin, Bermuda, Madrid, Zürich, Milan and Hong Kong, and had total assets under management of GBP23.1bn at the end of last year.

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