A Chinese financial firm which once devoured New York’s Waldorf Astoria has sold off its second set of real estate assets this year, with European media reports indicating that Anbang Insurance has disposed of a set of Netherlands office buildings for €700 million ($763 million).
Anbang has sold the set of six commercial assets in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague to UK rival Aviva less than three years after buying the properties from Blackstone for €500 million, according to a report in React News.
The deal is the latest installment in what has been a multi-year unwinding of a debt-fuelled acquisition spree masterminded by former Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui, who was imprisoned in 2018 for financial crimes.
Hospitality Assets Find a New Home
Aviva’s new portfolio includes the Forum, Sirius and Orion buildings in The Hague, as well as the Weenatoren and 200 Weena in Rotterdam. In Amsterdam, the UK-based firm will take possession of the Cross Towers.
The six buildings all come from a set which Anbang had acquired from funds managed by Blackstone through its Dutch insurance subsidiary Vivat NV in October 2016, according to news reports at the time.
That transaction was one of a series of asset sales by Blackstone to Anbang as the mainland insurer turned to the US private equity giant to acquire properties including the Waldorf Astoria and the Strategic Hotels and Resorts portfolio.
At the reported purchase price, Aviva would be achieving an initial yield of 4.9 percent, according to the React account. CBRE is said to have advised on Anbang on the disposal
Anbang Sell Off Continues
The European office sale is being reported just six weeks after Anbang agreed to sell a set of Japanese apartments to Blackstone for JPY 300 billion ($2.7 billion). The Chinese insurer had originally sold the same properties in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka to Anbang for JPY 260 billion in 2017.
That Japanese sale, like this week’s disposal of Dutch office buildings, was part of an ongoing effort by mainland Chinese authorities, who took over direct control of Anbang in February 2018, to sell off the insurer’s overseas assets.
In September of last year Korea’s Mirae Asset Management agreed to buy the Strategic Hotels and Resorts portfolio from Anbang for $5.8 billion, although that transaction has recently been called into question as the COVID-19-driven collapse of the travel market makes investors leery of hospitality assets.
Following this latest sale Anbang continues to hold the Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Amsterdam which it purchased in 2017 for around €350 million, although the company is said to also be looking for buyers for that property.