QIA mulls injecting HSBC headquarters into CDL's planned Singapore Reit: Sources

QIA bought 8 Canada Square, the building in London's Canary Wharf financial district that houses HSBC's head office, in 2014.
QIA bought 8 Canada Square, the building in London's Canary Wharf financial district that houses HSBC's head office, in 2014.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is in talks to inject HSBC Holdings' London headquarters building into a planned real estate investment trust (Reit) to be listed by City Developments Ltd (CDL), people with knowledge of the matter said.

The potential deal would boost the value of the Reit's portfolio to £1.8 billion (S$3.4 billion) from £600 million, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

The Gulf sovereign wealth fund and the Singapore developer aim to raise £500 million from an initial public offering (IPO) of the sterling-denominated Reit for UK commercial properties, the people said. The IPO could take place in Singapore as soon as the third quarter, they said.

Deliberations are ongoing and there is no certainty that a deal will proceed, said the people. A representative for CDL declined to comment. A representative for QIA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The IPO denominated in sterling would be only the second such offering in Singapore, after Elite Commercial Reit's first-time share sale raised £135.4 million last year. CDL has been working with DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp on the planned Reit IPO, Bloomberg News reported last year.

CDL has constructed more than 46,000 homes and owns over 24 million sq ft of properties in 29 countries and regions, according to its website. Its portfolio includes residences, offices, hotels and shopping malls.

Shares in CDL slipped about 1 per cent in early trading in Singapore on Wednesday.

QIA manages about US$300 billion (S$399 billion) of assets and ranks as the world's 11th-largest wealth fund, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. It bought 8 Canada Square, the building in London's Canary Wharf financial district that houses HSBC's head office, in 2014 from South Korea's National Pension Service for an undisclosed amount.

Mr Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, QIA's chairman and Qatar's foreign affairs minister, told Bloomberg TV in January that the fund is looking to Asia for deals in an effort to diversify an investment portfolio heavily weighted toward North America and Europe.