Cathay Life Insurance buys London office for £320m


One of Taiwan’s biggest insurance firms, Cathay Life, has agreed purchase of its first London office.

The firm has agreed to buy Woolgate Exchange on Basinghall Street for around £320m.

The Woolgate Exchange is located in the heart of the Square Mile and has nine floors.

Known as one of London’s trophy buildings, Woolgate Exchange is situated opposite the Guildhall and located close to the Bank of England.

Close by to St Paul, Bank and Moorgate Stations, the office on Basinghall Street has excellent access to public transport.

The office space is currently fully leased by Portigon AG and occupied by a number of sub-tenants including Investec Asset Management, University of Chicago and Sidley Austin.

The purchase of London office space by Cathay Life, is expected to be the first of many from Taiwanese investors.

This comes after Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission ruled that insurers could invest in real estate abroad. Previously these insurers were limited to purchasing domestically in Taiwan.

Fubon Life Insurance is expected to be the next Taiwanese investor to London, having put £1.8bn aside for oversea property investment over the next five years.

Cathay Life has pursued various London acquisitions this year, including Sainsbury’s UK headquarters at 33 Holborn, which was later sold to Tishman Speyer and Gingko Tree Investments for around £310m.

By: Kirsty MacGregor

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