A group of financial units under South Korea’s top conglomerate Samsung Group has moved a step closer to acquiring a 77,000-square-meter office building in northern Brussels, Belgium at about 380 million euros ($434 million).
According to multiple sources from the investment bank industry on Thursday, Samsung SRA Asset Management Co. has recently been selected as the preferred bidder to buy an office building in Brussels that is leased out to Electrabel GDF Suez SA, an energy corporation and subsidiary of leading private electric utility provider Engie SA based in France as its head office. The Korean company is currently conducting due diligence and plans to complete the sales procedure by next month.
The latest investment is led by Samsung SRA Asset Management in a consortium with other Samsung Group’s financial units including Samsung Life Insurance Co., Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co. and Samsung Securities Co.
The purchase price is expected to be about 380 million euros, which is about 500 billion won. The Korean investors plan to finance about 180 billion won from a 500 billion won worth real estate blind fund that Samsung SRA Asset Management has formed last month and receive financial loans to source remaining funds. A blind fund collects funds from investors without having a fixed investment target.
The Electrabel headquarters building was built in two phases in 2011 and 2014. The 77,000-square-meter building with two underground floors is made up of two 14-storied towers. Electrabel currently occupies the whole building. As it is rented out to the global enterprise with a high-grade credit rating generating stable profit, the building is expected to bring a stable source of investment to its investors.
Engie, a provider of natural gas and electricity in France, is involved in many power and gas projects around the world including Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. In particular, the company is widely recognized as a pioneer in Europe’s nuclear energy market as it is in charge of developing Belgium’s first pressurized-water reactor. Through its subsidiary Electrabel, Engie owns and runs seven reactors in Belgium.
After investing in the building in Brussels, Samsung SRA Asset Management will seek to buy additional high-grade properties in North America and Europe using the rest of the blind fund. The total investment that would be possible with the fund could exceed 1 trillion won when taking account of financial leverages such as loans.
By Kang Doo-soon and Song Gwang-sup
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