Saïd to launch $1bn global property drive

Syrian-born billionaire Wafic Saïd is set to embark on a $1bn (£800m) global property investment drive and has earmarked around a third of the total for London assets.

Saïd Holdings, the Bermuda-based investment group founded by Saïd in 1987, plans to invest the money over the next two to three years. As well as increasing its investments in London, Saïd Holdings will look to make its debut acquisitions in Canada and Germany. “The investment group is increasing focus on real estate globally, and in three particular markets: the UK, Canada and Germany,” said a spokesman for the Saïd family. “We may also consider France, but only Paris. We’re looking at a total investment of up to $1bn worldwide, with as much as a third of that in the UK.” Triple portfolio The planned investments will triple the size of Saïd Holdings’ existing property portfolio. Currently valued at around $500m, its existing assets include 5 Churchill Place in Canary Wharf, which it refinanced in a £137.5m deal earlier this month with Citi and Bank of Ireland London. Last month, Saïd Holdings appointed Robin Broadhurst, the former chairman of the European division of JLL, to advise the company on expanding its real estate activities. Saïd Holdings is also advised by Nigel Fox and Ross Davies, partners at Capital Real Estate.

In the UK, the group will target ‘core-plus’ investments in City of London fringe districts such as Whitechapel and Holborn. The search is focused on multi-tenanted buildings that offer the opportunity for refurbishment or redevelopment to add value. In Germany, the group is looking to buy similar assets in Berlin and Munich, while its search in Canada will focus on Toronto and Vancouver. The group is weighing up whether Paris offers the right opportunities and is likely to wait until the result of the forthcoming elections in France before deciding whether to invest in the country. Having made his fortune in the Saudi Arabian construction industry, Saïd came into the public eye in the UK for his role in the £40bn Al-Yamamah arms, infrastructure and oil deals in the 1980s. In 1982, Saïd founded the Saïd Foundation, which supports talented scholars and children in need in the Middle East, and founded the Saïd Business School at Oxford University.