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Commissioners change Pollen into £381 million

15 August 2014

iSTOCK

THE Church Commissioners have realised £381 million from selling their stake in a central-London property portfolio to a consortium that includes the Crown Estate.

The Commissioners owned 64 per cent of the Pollen Estate, which comprises offices and shops on and around Savile Row, in Mayfair, for more than 50 years.

Almost 100 institutions were interested after the Commissioners' stake was put up for sale in May (News, 2 May), but it was announced on Sunday that 57.8 per cent would be bought by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), while the remaining 6.4 per cent would go to the Crown Estate.

The price of £381 million made the sale the largest in the history of the Commissioners. Their Chief Surveyor, Joseph Cannon, said: "As we expected, the depth and calibre of international interest in the Estate was impressive, with a range of buyers showing a strong interest in the Commissioners' majority holding."

The money would be used to fulfil the Commissioners' commitment to financially supporting the ministry of the Church of England.

The Crown Estate, in partnership with NBIM, already owns all of Regent Street, which adjoins the Pollen Estate. The head of the Regent Street portfolio of the Crown Estate, David Shaw, said that the Pollen Estate had an international reputation, and was a "long-term investment opportunity".

The Crown Estate, originally the Queen's property arm, is now an independent business that returns all of its profits to the Treasury. Besides owning significant swaths of central London, the Estate also manages the UK's seabed. NBIM is Norway's sovereign wealth fund.

The Commissioners' total assets came to £6.1 billion at their last annual report, in May (News, 30 May). Each year they contribute more than £200 million to the Church's costs, most of which pays pensions for retired clergy.

 

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