Banana billionaire buys gherkin for £700m

The iconic office building is bought by a Brazilian who sees strong investment value in London's commercial property market.

The central London building is nicknamed the Gherkin
The distinctive Gherkin building in the City of London has been snapped up by a Brazilian billionaire.

Safra Group, the investment giant owned by Brazilian Joseph Safra, paid more than £720m for 30 St Mary Axe, according to the Financial Times.

The price was not disclosed.

The Gherkin, as it is nicknamed, went on sale in July after German property firm IVG Immobilien struggled with debts.

IVG had bought the 180m high building, which has 40 floors, in 2007 from insurance group Swiss Re for £600m.

The sale to Safra - amid high demand for commercial property in London - was announced just weeks after another high-profile deal in which Safra took joint control of banana specialist, Chiquita.

Safra Group said: "The acquisition of 30 St Mary Axe is consistent with our real estate strategy of investing in properties that are truly special - at the best locations within great cities.

"While only 10 years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential."


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