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LONDON-The £41.7 million ($64 million) purchase of a new office building near London Gatwick Airport by the Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House could signal a new wave of Middle Eastern investment in the UK and Europe. According to reports in the Financial Times quoting the Council on Foreign Relations, growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and US combined with calls from politicians to freeze the US assets of Middle East nationals has seen more than £130 billion ($200 billion) withdrawn from the US.

In a prepared statement the Gulf Finance House said it plans to capitalise on this trend by launching the Gulf Atlantic Real Estate fund, which is structured to comply with the Islamic Shari’ah law’s strictures on usury. Despite this, it has been able to leverage its equity with the Nationwide Building Society, assembling a £200 million ($310 million) war chest.

GFH Partner Ahmed Al Qattan said: “The appetite for UK-European investment is very strong in the Gulf in the current climate of uncertainty over US stocks, which is why Gulf Atlantic was successful in raising the equity fund in a matter of weeks.”

To kick off the fund’s investment programme, GFH has bought One City Place, a 140,000-sf office building at Gatwick, from airport operator BAA Lynton for £41.7 million ($64 million). The four storey office building has been let to BritishTelecom on a 15 year lease at £22.50 ($34.65) per sf.

Knight Frank acts as property advisor to the fund.

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