EPF, PNB say Battersea deal is a strategic investment opportunity

KUALA LUMPUR: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s (PNB) plans to buy the Power Station building in Phase 2 of the Battersea project is driven solely by commercial motive.

The Power Station building will house Apple’s new London headquarters.

The funds, in a joint statement today, said they view this potential acquisition as a strategic opportunity to secure ownership of a unique and iconic real estate asset that will deliver a sustainable income stream.

“The EPF and PNB wish to reiterate that the decision to explore the potential reorganisation of ownership was purely an investment consideration….undertaken independently without any government intervention,” the statement said.

SP Setia Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd, in separate filings with Bursa Malaysia on Thursday, said PNB and the EPF had signed a heads of terms with Battersea Phase 2 Holding Company Ltd to buy the commercial asset for £1.608bil (RM8.76bil).

The purchase price is still subject to further due diligence, according to the joint statement, and has been structured based on a completed and tenanted basis to provide attractive long-term yields for investors.

The EPF is part of the consortium of developers, consisting of SP Setia and Sime Darby Property, in the greater Battersea Power Station development which began in 2012, with the entire development spanning Phase 1 to Phase 7. 

The EPF directly owns 20% of the Battersea Power Station development and the reorganisation exercise will not affect its shareholding in the existing overall development.

PNB, on the other hand, holds majority stakes in both SP Setia and Sime Darby Property, which jointly own an 80% equity in the Battersea Power Station development.

Phase 2 of the project is expected to be completed by late 2020 and has been pre-let to anchor tenants such as Apple.