Friday 17 November 2017

Boris welcomes KIA interest in London projects

London Mayor Boris Johnson
London Mayor Boris Johnson

Fiona MacDonald

KUWAIT is interested in investing in London real estate projects after focusing on completed properties for several years, Boris Johnson, the city's mayor, said after meeting with members of the Kuwait Investment Authority.

"The KIA wants to move forward with fresh developments that I think they had moved away from over the last few years, and that's going to be good news for London," Johnson (49) said in Kuwait City.

Sovereign-wealth funds from Qatar to Norway are investing in London developments as a dearth of project financing from banks creates an opportunity to achieve higher returns. Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne travelled to China last month to promote investment in Britain and its capital.

The KIA doubled investments in the UK over the last 10 years to more than $24bn (€18.1bn), managing director Bader Al-Saad said during a visit to London in June. As well as real estate assets, the country's sovereign-wealth fund also has an infrastructure fund operating from London, he said. The KIA couldn't be reached for comment.

Johnson said he's seeking to attract interest from other sovereign-wealth funds in the Middle East, without naming any.

The mayor said he would like to help the KIA "do new developments in areas that desperately need new housing and homes for people to live in. It's not just a question of buying existing homes."

Foreign investors are involved in some of the biggest housing developments in London. Oxley Holdings, a Singapore-based property developer this month agreed to buy a site on the River Thames, where it plans to build 3,400 homes.

Malaysian companies SP Setia and Sime Darby bought the Battersea Power Station project, one of Europe's largest developments.

Irish Independent

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