MetLife backs GAW Capital with £275m loan

MetLife has led a circa £275 million financing of Hong Kong-based GAW Capital’s latest investment into the London market. The US insurer has provided a ten-year loan, reflecting a loan-to-value of around 55 percent, to a GAW-led consortium to finance its purchase of the 480,000 sq ft 123-151 Buckingham Palace Road in the Victoria area of the capital.

MetLife has led a circa £275 million financing of Hong Kong-based GAW Capital’s latest investment in the London market, Real Estate Capital can reveal.

The US insurer has provided a ten-year loan, reflecting a loan-to-value of around 55 percent, to a GAW-led consortium to finance its purchase of the 480,000 sq ft 123-151 Buckingham Palace Road in the Victoria area of the capital.

GAW, alongside other Asian investors, has bought adjacent office buildings, from US fund manager Divco West in the case of number 123, and from Malaysian fund Lembaga Tabung Haji, in the case of number 151, for around £500 million.

Metlife has underwritten the loan and is close to syndicating as much as 50%, possibly with another life fund.

The loan, which was signed this week, has been priced at 175 basis points over three-month Libor, reflecting the fact that the financing is not a typical vanilla London deal. GAW is understood to have opted for a ten-year loan term due to the fact that the buildings are considered a long-term investment, partly due to their asset management potential.

The buildings have an income stream of around five to six years. One of the two, 123 Buckingham Palace Road, is multi-let, while 151 Buckingham Palace Road is fully-let to the government on a lease which expires around half way through the loan term.

Wilson, Paul REC15 CROPPED
MetLife’s Paul Wilson

Tech giant Google is a tenant in multi-let number 123, alongside PA Consulting and Sky Media. Number 151 is fully let to government agencies including the Care Quality Commission and Public Health England.

MetLife’s London regional office is led by managing director Paul Wilson. The UK arm of the business has originated more than £1 billion in UK mortgage loans this year. Eastdil Secured advised GAW on the financing.

All parties declined to comment.

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