Got a spare £640m? You could become the proud owner of 30 St Mary Axe, aka the Gherkin. The tower has gone up for sale after it, well, got into a pickle back in April when the cost of debts secured against the building rocketed.
Receivers Deloitte have appointed posh estate agent Savills to arrange a sale: 'If buyers want an interesting piece of London, this is as good as it gets,' Savills partner Julian Stocks said.
The good news is that, it being one of the most iconic buildings in the UK, and bearing in mind sovereign wealth funds are basically falling over themselves to buy up trophy assets like this, The Gherkin shouldn't be a tough one to flog. Its new owners might want to rejig rental prices a bit, mind: although it's 99% let, and occupiers pay an average of £55 per sq ft - just below the City average of £56.11, according to research published earlier this year by Cushman & Wakefield.
As is pretty common in these situations, the problem was currency fluctuations: when the tower was bought for £600m by Evans Randall and German firm IVG back in 2007, IVG chose to borrow its share of the £400m loan used to buy the building in Swiss Francs. As currency buffs will tell you, the Franc has gone up 56% against the pound since 2007. As a result, its loan-to-value ratio has rocketed.
In April, when the receivers were called in, Evans Randall was keen to distance itself from the situation.
'The default has arisen largely as a consequence of the IVG tranche of the loan being denominated in Swiss France and has been exacerbated by the insolvency of IVG,' it said. 'Evans Randall has equity ready to invest and has been unable to do so because of the inability to agree a consensual solution with IVG, given these uncertainties.'