Singapore investor buys hotel in London

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The Independent Online
SECURUM, the organisation set up by the Swedish government to sort out the massive bad debts incurred by one of the country's largest banks, has sold the first of 10 UK hotels for pounds 20m.

The 162-room Bailey's Hotel, home of the Bombay Brasserie in Gloucester Road, west London, has been bought by CDL Hotels International, a Singapore property investor which already owns the Gloucester Hotel next door.

Alan Daniels, head of Knight Frank & Rutley's hotel valuation division, said that, given the potential synergy of merging the two hotels and planning permission to add a further 113 rooms, the price was fair.

He added that there was heavy demand, particularly from the Far East, for London hotels.

When Securum was set up early in 1993 it had to sort out dollars 5.4bn of bad debts incurred by Nordbanken, which had been rescued by the Swedish government.

Last year it sold dollars 400m of assets, largely in Britain, where Nordbanken had made lavish loans in the late 1980s when Swedish companies invested heavily in the overheated property market.

One of Securum's highest-profile properties is the Ark, an office building in Hammersmith, west London. Its architecture has been feted but it has so far failed to attract a tenant. Other assets include the Gucci building in London, some prime property in the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, the British Embassy in Rangoon and Sweden's largest ski resort at Ore.

When it was set up last year it was envisaged that Securum would have a life of about 15 years, during which time its assets would be disposed of with the aim of maximising proceeds for the Swedish taxpayer. It inherited 1,100 properties, many of which had been neglected since the bankruptcies of their owners.

As well as properties Securum also took on industrial companies, including ServisAir, part of John Gunn's British & Commonwealth empire, and ANC, the parcels delivery service.