Finnish financial group inks record €480m sale and leaseback deal

OP Cooperative, the central cooperative of OP Financial Group, Finland's largest financial services firm, has inked a sale and leaseback deal for its Helsinki headquarters worth €480 mln.

The buyer is a South Korean-Finnish investor consortium consisting of NH Investment and Securities (NHIS), Shinhan Investment Corp and Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company.

The consortium was led by Seoul-based AIP Asset Management and Helsinki-based Avant Asset Management, which acted as co-investment managers for the deal. OP Financial Group will continue operating on the property under a long-term lease agreement.

'This is a very meaningful transaction to Shinhan and NH securities in that this is the first capital fund by two leading Korean investment banking firms in Helsinki's commercial real estate market, and is our first try to find alternative Nordic regions which have strong economic fundamentals,' Eddie Dongyun Lee, head of Shinhan Financial Group's global alternative investment team, told PropertyEU.

The office campus is located in Vallila, the largest financial centre concentration in Finland, and comprises 74,150 m2 of lettable area. It forms the largest single office complex in Finland accommodating approximately 6,000 employees.

The deal volume makes it the largest ever single-asset office transaction in the Finnish real estate market, according to CBRE, who advised OP Cooperative.

'The preparations for this project started in October 2018 and given the exceptionally large investment volume for a Finnish office asset, it was clear from the start that the investor universe is to be approached globally,' said Markku Mäkiaho, head of OP’s real estate investments.

'The weight of global capital targeting the Helsinki office market is significant and liquidity is at an all-time high, as evidenced by this record-sized transaction. This highly competitive process was a true collaboration across several regions resulting in a new investor entering the Finnish market,' added Henrik Calton, head of investment properties at CBRE Finland.

CBRE represented OP’s sole commercial advisor in the transaction and Castrén & Snellman acted as OP’s legal advisor. The purchaser was advised by Krogerus Attorneys.

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