Land Securities, has put a £100m chunk of its flagship Fleet Street estate up for sale. Sunday Telegraph
The move, which comes as many observers believe the commercial real estate market is near the bottom of the cycle, includes offloading Fleetbank House, the headquarters to the Office of Fair Trading, which LandSecs bought in 1986 and applied for planning on last year. Several smaller buildings nearby are also on the block. The property group declined to comment on the sale.
Property prices have fallen by 30% since last summer, but following the company’s conversion into a real estate investment trust last year it can dramatically reduce its capital gains tax bill, allowing it to offload assets that have been held for a long time.
Last year Land Securities announced its intention to break into three: London offices, retail and Trillium, its outsourcing division. It has given itself 12 months to divide and then only if market conditions are right. Many believe that Trillium will be sold long before the demerger happens but in the meantime the company is rearranging itself for the break-up.
In the final three months of 2007 LandSecs sold £507m of shops and offices, bringing its total disposals for the year to £2bn – more than twice its annual sales. The sell-off followed last spring’s prediction by Francis Salway, the chief executive, that the market would slow.