BLP lands work on £220m RBSI deal

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has advised a syndicate of banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland International (RBSI) on a £220m property deal, the first transaction it has closed for the offshore bank.
The syndicate, comprising RBSI, Bradford & Bingley and Britannia Building Society, financed the acquisition by a private overseas investor of major City office development 280 Bishopsgate, London, from quoted UK property company Hammerson.
The deal is one of the single largest property investment transactions seen this year.
BLP gained an entry into RBSI after one of its Nationwide Building Society contacts, investment banker Brian Roxburgh, moved there last year. “RBSI is growing the team and has moved up the food chain,” commented BLP property finance partner Mark Waghorn.
Waghorn and fellow property finance partner Simon Kildahl have now worked with three different teams within the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), namely RBSI, RBS structured property finance and RBS real estate finance. In the last three weeks alone, BLP has completed over £360m worth of structured property finance for various arms of RBS and RBSI.
The negotiation of the 280 Bishopsgate transaction was completed within just four weeks. Kildahl led the team for the syndicate, working with partners Cathryn Vanderspar in tax and Peter Martin in corporate.
The development fronts Spitalfields market and is currently being fitted out as the main headquarters for RBS.
The sale by Hammerson marks the end of a three-year involvement in the scheme for Nabarro Nathanson. Client partner Simon Staite originally acted on the acquisition of the development site of 280 Bishopsgate in 1999 for £27.5m. The firm also advised Hammerson in December 2000 on the lease of the entire 270,000 sq ft building to RBS for 25 years at an annual gross rent of £15m. A rent-free period ended on 2 April 2002.
For the disposal, Nabarros fielded a team led by Michael Cant, who advised on the tax structure, with Chris Luck and Russell Holden in corporate and Staite and Rebecca Kitchingham in property.
Luck commented: “This was a decent, good-quality property-related transaction with corporate and tax features. It shows that there is money in the market to buy property.”
RadcliffesLeBrasseur advised the overseas buyer. Stephen von Peltz coordinated the team with Roger Thornton and Antony Brougham on the property side and Rupert Lescher and Peter Brown on corporate and tax aspects.