In the biggest office transaction in the south-east outside London since 2000, Evans Randall has acquired three office blocks totalling 275,000 sq ft (25,548 sq m) let to Cisco Systems.
The purchase price reflects a yield of around 4.75%.
Evans Randall has spent nearly £500m on UK property in the last four weeks. It paid £197m for 33 Old Broad Street in the City of London and also bought five UK government fire control centres for £125m.
Michael Evans, chairman and chief executive at Evans Randall, said the bank hopes to invest up to £2bn on property in Europe next year. It is targeting properties priced between £75m to £300m.
Evans told Property Week: ‘What drives deals for us is the length of the deal, fixed increases in rent and exceptionally strong covenants like Cisco, which are rated by Standard & Poors as “A+”. We want to go for tenants rated “A” or better.’
The sale follows the regearing of Cisco’s lease at the offices in 2004. It has gone from paying £33.50/sq ft to £28/sq ft (£360.59-£301.39/sq m) and now has 19-years left unexpired on its lease.
The purchase price is the highest paid for offices in the south-east since 2000 when the entire scheme, totalling 750,000 sq ft (69,676 sq m), was bought by Scottish Widows from MEPC for £280m, reflecting a yield of 6.5%.
There were further indications in the Thames Valley this week that investment activity is outpacing comparatively sluggish demand from occupiers.
Warwick-based IM Properties' 121 Kings Road in Reading has been sold to German fund Oppenheim for £66m.
The price for the 150,599 sq ft (13,990 sq m) office, which is let to Prudential at £29/sq ft (£312.15/sq m) until 2015, reflected a yield of 6.1%. The purchase is due to complete next Friday.
Jones Lang Lasalle advised IM Properties; Lewis Ellis acted for Oppenheim.