Insurer snaps up London property as it gets back on its feet

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Insurer snaps up London property as it gets back on its feet

Hanwha Life Insurance has purchased a premium office building in London in an effort to bolster its return from asset management, industry sources said yesterday.

The Korean insurer acquired the Wood Street headquarters of international law firm Eversheds in London’s financial district for 250 billion won ($224 million) in August, according to the sources.

“We will try to minimize investment risks by purchasing properties overseas for lease, and by seeking stable investment returns,” a company official said.

The insurer’s purchase of the prime office building is widely seen as an attempt to accelerate its return to form amid a prolonged housing slump.

Falling property prices in the United Kingdom following the protracted global economic slowdown also prompted Korea’s No. 2 life insurer to hunt for bargains there, the sources said.

Hanwha Life Insurance, formerly Korea Life Insurance, added that it plans to buy real estate assets in other cities, including Paris and Sydney, and diversify its investment portfolio. Yonhap

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