Neon Underwriting (previously Marketform) is a vibrant insurer operating in the specialist Lloyd’s market and is a member of Great American Insurance Group (GAIG), the insurance operations of American Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:AFG). AFG has approximately US$60 billion in assets.
Neon occupied an historic Grade II listed 20,000 sq ft self-contained building on the fringe of the City’s insurance district. An impending lease expiry provided the option for Neon to either remain in occupation of its existing premises under new and improved terms (the ‘stay-option’) or alternatively the business could seize the opportunity to relocate (the ‘go-option’) to more efficient premises on a single floor and in a more modern building closer to Lloyd’s of London.
Following a thorough investigation of available properties, a preferred building (and back-up option) was selected for detailed financial review and benchmarking. Comprehensive building and M&E surveys were commissioned as part of the pre-acquisition due diligence undertaken by MWRE and associated project team members. This ensured that the building owners were required to carry out various remedial works to the property prior to lease grant.
MWRE successfully negotiated for Neon to take a new 10 year lease (maximising the level of incentive package available to the tenant) on a single floor of 29,500 sq ft at 20 Gracechurch Street, EC3.
Hartree Partners, LP is a global merchant commodities firm specialising in energy and its associated industries. Founded originally as Hess Energy Trading Company LLC (HETCO), Hartree’s business spans 10 offices around the world.
Hartree occupied 8,000 sq ft offices in a building earmarked for redevelopment in London’s West End. At lease expiry, the business faced the prospect of being forced to relocate to alternative premises in competition with all other tenants being similarly displaced, and in a market where the supply of office space was severely constrained. Hartree appointed MWRE after a previous property deal had fallen through at a late stage, leaving the business with a very tight timetable in which to find a new office space.
MWRE negotiated for Hartree to acquire a large single floor of 11,300 sq ft at Cardinal Place, 100 Victoria Street, SW1 under a new 10 year lease to maximise the level of tenant incentive package available to the business and a LTA 1954 protected lease provided security of tenure for the the business.
The 2,200 sq ft balance of space deemed surplus to Hartree’s immediate needs was sublet on short-term lease basis (to a strong covenant) which generated rental income and provided the business with expansion space to cater for future business growth.
Neptune Energy is an independent global E&P company founded by Sam Laidlaw. The Company is backed by CIC and funds advised by Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners. Neptune Energy employs 1,800 people working across exploration, appraisal, development and production and is active across the North Sea, North Africa and Asia Pacific.
Neptune Energy initially occupied a small 5-7 person serviced office in London’s West End and prior to its transformational acquisition of ENGIE’s E&P business (in February 2018), tasked MWRE with finding and negotiating the acquisition of a new London office into which the newly enlarged business could co-locate.
Working to a tight timetable, in a market where the limited supply pipeline was driving occupiers (particularly in the West End) to activate searches well in advance of lease events, MWRE evaluated over 50 property options across various London office sub-markets in order to reach a shortlist of potential building options.
A number of buildings were selected space planning/technical evaluation and detailed financial review before MWRE successfully completed negotiations to acquire 11,000 sq ft Grade A offices for Neptune Energy at Nova North, Victoria, SW1.
Orsted (previously known as DONG Energy) is a renewable energy company headquartered in Denmark employing 5,600 people including over 900 in the UK. Its shares are listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen and in 2017 the group’s revenue was DKK 59.5 bn (EUR 8.0 bn).
MWRE was tasked with developing a property strategy for DONG Energy which recognised that the business occupied some 50,000 sq ft under six leases in London from different landlords, all of which leases were due to expire within a short 2-3 year timeframe.
With headcount in London expected to grow significantly beyond existing lease expiry dates it was important to identify a new headquarters building that would be available to meet the businesses’ future growth needs within the timescale identified. In addition any new building would also be required to meet various exacting technical, environmental and sustainability requirements in keeping with the businesses’ corporate image and standards.
Against the backdrop of an increasingly tight London office market with low levels of supply and high levels of occupier demand, MWRE was successful in identifying and securing 81,000 sq ft Grade A offices in an award-winning building at 5 Howick Place, Victoria, SW1 for Orsted some 18 months ahead of lease expiry on highly competitive terms.