Nexus Estates Plc

Benchmark sells Nexus stake
By Norma Cohen, Property Correspondent
January 29 2001

Financial Times

Benchmark, the office developer specialising in London's West End, has sold its controlling stake in serviced offices provider, Nexus, to Henderson Private Capital in a move which highlights the growing acceptance of serviced offices as property-based operating companies.

Serviced offices, which were once viewed as niches of the property industry, are fully-equiped office suites allowing users to rent space for as little as a few hours at a time. Because they are also fully staffed and typically provide access to sophisticated information technology, rents can be twice as high as on similar space let on traditional long-term leases.

Last year, Regus, the world's largest serviced office provider, launched an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange with a listing in the business services sector, rather than property. Its market capitalisation is now more than £2bn.

Nexus has branded itself as a niche operator in the London serviced office market, offering a "five-star" environment and IT product. It manages space at two centres, which are at full occupancy, while a third centre in London's West End is to open shortly.

However, Nexus had been seeking capital to expand its community-like concept further in the UK and in Europe, and has sought a partner prepared to finance that.

Benchmark said it would realise a profit of £6.5m on the sale of its stake, which was valued at £50,000 at December 31, 2000.

Copyright: The Financial Times Limited

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