Amsterdam: fund buys office site for €141mThe UniImmo Europe fund has bought the UN Studio office development project in Amsterdam for €141.1m (£95m) from vendors Fortis, G&S and ING Development. Scheduled for completion in 2009, the 24,465 sq m (263,349 sq ft) scheme is in the Zuidas submarket, and was sold with a three-year rental guarantee. In December, the fund purchased the De Haagsche Zwaan office tower in the Hague, which is due to be finished in 2009.London: investment boom is nearing its end, says DTZDTZ head of research Joe Valente predicts that the good times in central London’s investment and occupational markets will soon be over. ‘The real story in central London is happening now,’ he says. ‘By the end of this year, the story’s over. The levels of yield being transacted are motivated by wealth preservation and diversification, not necessarily internal rates of return. There will be a reduction in rental growth driven by an increase of available stock in the City.’France: Henderson to explore the provincesHenderson Global Investors is expanding in the French market. ‘Provincial markets are a hotspot to be exploited,’ says head of property investment Chris Linney. ‘In the last couple of years there has been a trend of businesses moving out of Paris for cost savings. ‘Nantes and Bordeaux are the two highest areas of outflow, and Marseille has attracted insurance companies and banks. We are seriously looking at opportunities in Bordeaux.’ Office investments are the priority. ‘We’d like to do retail, but the planning regulations are very tight,’ says Linney.Copenhagen: carlyle makes dane gain The Carlyle Group has boosted its Danish investment portfolio to €885m (£595m) with the purchase of the headquarters of TDC, a 49,100 sq m (528,512 sq ft) office block in downtown Copenhagen, from Danish pension fund KTAS. Next to Norreport station, the 19 separate office properties are let to TDC, which intends to vacate in April 2009. Carlyle will undertake a significant refurbishment. Spain: invesco acquisition takes it beyond €200mInvesco’s Spanish acquisitions have broken the €200m barrier since its €13m (£8.7m) acquisition of a warehouse in Loeches, 30 km west of Madrid, on behalf of one of its managed German funds. The 12-year sale and leaseback reflects a yield of 6.1%, and is the 16th Spanish property to be bought by Invesco’s Madrid office. ‘Extremely low initial yields preclude the ability to buy offices, but logistics offer a much higher return, says Invesco senior vice-president Tim Nalder.Italy: CBRE helps polis with enquiriesCB Richard Ellis has been instructed to manage the new Megliadino shopping centre in Padova on behalf of developer Gruppo Polis. The 25,000 sq m (269,100 sq ft) centre is anchored by Bennet Hypermarket, Echos and Bernardi.India: yatra capital buys stake in phoenix millsYatra Capital, the Euronext-listed Indian investment specialist, has bought a €3.73m (£2.5m) stake in listed Indian property developer Phoenix Mills. Phoenix is involved in seven Indian retail developments totalling (15m sq ft) 1.39m sq mfollowing its April merger with Ashok Ruia Enterprises. The final phase of retail and hotel space at its flagship scheme, Phoenix Mills in Lower Parel, Mumbai, is due to be to completed by 2010.Vietnam: Prupim wants to open a local officePrupim managing director Martin Moore is keen to gain exposure to the Vietnam market. ‘We are looking at how we might gain access to Vietnam, and have a desire for a local office,’ he told delegates at Property Week’s London Real Estate Capital of the World? conference last month. ‘Sourcing an associate in a small and opaque market is the biggest difficulty.’ Prupim already has a presence in Singapore, and Moore said he was also interested in Taiwan.China: firms find foothold in london office marketThe City is seeing evidence of Chinese companies establishing a presence in the London office market. ‘We are beginning to see the seed bed of Chinese companies on the occupational side in London,’ says Neil Prime, head of office agency at Jones Lang LaSalle. ‘The Bank of China has traditionally been an incubator for companies that come over to London, and we expect more requirements to spin out.’Taiwan: Savills advises on giant Taipei dealSavills has advised on the largest-ever real estate investment transaction in Taipei. Shin Kong Life Insurance paid $153m (£75m) for two office towers (pictured above) totalling 59,114 sq m (636,303 sq ft) and owned and occupied by the BenQ Corporation in the Nei Hu Technology Park. Savills opened its Taipei office three months ago. General manager Cynthia Chu concluded the deal.Hong Kong: swire weighs up ipo at festival walkListed Hong Kong developer Swire Pacific is considering placing Festival Walk into a REIT. The retail and office complex in Kowloon is expected to raise $400m (£195m) at its initial public offering. Swire’s buyout of former partner Citic Pacific’s 50% share of the asset for HK$6bn (£275m) last year was Hong Kong’s biggest-ever property deal.Americas: Vantone’s bid for freedomVantone Group has set its sights on opening a 27,870 sq m (300,000 sq ft) China Center at the top of the Freedom Tower in New York. The Beijing-based developer, part-owned by the Chinese government, is being advised by Jones Lang Lasalle’s New York office. ‘The first preference in New York is the top of the Freedom Tower,’ says Peter Riguardi, regional vice-president of the office. The multi-use requirement will include ‘a very high-end business club’ for Western and Chinese members, a conference centre, offices and large event space which will be open to the public. Discussions have taken place with serviced office company Regus to operate an incubator suite for emerging Chinese businesses in New York, offering a bilingual service and technical support.The requirement had previously been linked to Larry Silverstein’s World Trade Center development and 195 Broadway, although both deals fell through. Currently under construction, the Freedom Tower is expected to be completed in 2011.Global moves Henderson France has appointed Jérôme Sebaux as head of property finance. He will be responsible for the financial management of funds based in Henderson’s Paris office. Henderson will also hire two asset managers before the end of the year. Sebaux qualified at the Institut Supérieur du Commerce and was previously a fund controller at ING Real Estate Investment Management France.Wurttemberger Hypo’s six-strong property lending team, led by Adam Slater, has announced it has ‘terminated its agreements’ with parent Hypo Real Estate Bank International. Slater’s team originated most of Wurttemberger Hypo’s UK and Irish loan portfolio over the past five years, as well as loans in wider Europe and the US to real estate investors and developers. Quinlan Private Golub has appointed Izabella Woszczyna as a retail negotiator on its retail projects across central and eastern Europe. Her main role will be the leasing of Galeria Podlaska, a shopping mall in Bialystok, Poland. She previously worked at real estate consultancy Ober-Haus.Do you have an appointment story? 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The Amsterdam office of law firm Clifford Chance has been advising Gemini offshore wind developers as lead counsel/project counsel since 2011. The offshore wind farm is the largest renewable energy project in both scope and funding ever conducted in the Netherlands. Since 2011, Clifford Chance has acted as legal advisor with regard to the structuring of the project, including project documentation for Van Oord and Siemens. In addition, the firm acted as advisor on the subordinated financing of EUR 200 million by the Danish pension fund PKA and Northland Power Inc. and furthermore acted as borrower’s advisor. As project counsel the team also set up the corporate and shareholder structure and governance for the project sponsors. The project involves the participation of a consortium of international banks, investors and export credit agencies.Hein Tonnaer, counsel at Clifford Chance and team leader: “It is the largest ever project within the Dutch offshore wind energy sector and provides an excellent framework for future renewable energy projects. Despite there being so many different types of parties involved we were able to conduct harmonious negotiations and achieved the full consensus needed to make this project a success. For the last couple of years we have been able to work on this project as a fully integrated team consisting of a wide range of disciplines within our firm, from project management to financial expertise and corporate law.”The Clifford Chance team that acted as project counsel since 2011 was led by Hein Tonnaer and furthermore consisted, amongst others, of Liesbeth Buiter, Mark Loefs, Nanette Rutgers, Jasper Dijkshoom, Sarah Lewis, Folko de Vries, Willem-Jan Wieland and Tim Heerschop. Clifford Chance Amsterdam has a leading project finance practice including specialists in financial and corporate law. Apart from the Gemini Project, the team has recently acted as advisor to other major Dutch wind projects, such as NOP Agrowind.Press Release, May 16, 2014; Image: typhoonoffshore
In 2014 the new European financing programme, Horizon 2020, kicked off. € 80 billion will be distributed among different research projects between 2014 and 2020.The programme is the successor of the Seventh Framework (SF7) and is comprehensive, focusing on all different parts of the European society and stimulating Research, Development and Innovation (RDI).Since the programme is relatively new, a lot of questions still exist on the subject. During the Forum Europa Seminar: maritime innovation in Horizon 2020, hosted by FME, light was shed on the programme to enlighten its purpose. Erik van de Burgwal, consultant EU Transport R&D programmes at NL Enterprise Agency, explained that Horizon 2020 consists of three cornerstones: Excellent science, Industrial leadership and Societal challenges; each in turn consisting of different action programmes.According to Van de Burgwal “Horizon 2020 is a fundamental part of our ways to access and increase innovation.” But, why and how is the programme relevant for the Dutch maritime industry? Maritime Holland spoke to Marnix Krikke, innovation & human capital director at Netherlands Maritime Technology (NMT).-Horizon 2020 focuses on stimulating RDI. Why is that so important?“Almost every company wants to be innovative, to stay ahead of competition. Mostly, they first explore which possibilities they have within the company to do research and develop, but often it appears to be more desirable to cooperate with other parties in order to achieve the goals of the company. This can be competitive, in which case a product or service is developed and marketed together. The other possibility is precompetitive RDI and, in this case, the company develops knowledge together with other parties, which can later be used to develop a product within the company. Or together. Horizon 2020 enables these procompetitive collaborations.”– Could you shortly explain how you can participate?“Every year new action programmes kick off and different topics will be selected for which a consortium may enrol. Around this topic some committed companies and knowledge institutions, will form a core consortium, based on their interest to research this topic. When the call is published by the EC, the core consortium can gather more interested parties and a research proposal can be developed and submitted. There is a lot of competition between different consortia to make the cut, so it is paramount to join a consortium that will submit a quality proposal. Companies that would like to receive more information about participating or on the interesting subjects can contact Forum Europa. Network organisation Maritime by Holland established this portal, to support their backing. They can also initiate contacts with relevant parties or consortia. Also, this fall will organise an international brokerage event in Rotterdam during which we explore the possible relevant topics in 2016/2017. This way the Dutch maritime industry gets a chance to get to know the programme in an accessible way.”– What happens when your symposium’s proposal is accepted?“When a proposal is accepted, the partners will sign a consortium agreement and start their activities according to the project plan, usually covering a period of three years. Partners who are committed and actively participate will get most out of the project. Ultimately, a success of European projects is based on the commitment of the partners. There are four different kinds of projects. The first is Research and innovation action, which is a research project with elements of innovation incorporated. Then there is Innovation action, which is an innovation project including a demonstration, pilot and market replication. Third, an SME instrument is available, specially developed for small and medium enterprises that want to invest in RDI. And lastly, the Coordination and support action project type, which is for supportive activities. Take, for example, the Retrofit project, financed by SF7, which perfectly shows what can be achieved with EU-projects. In this project, sustainable retrofitting technologies were analysed, so ship owners and designers could have better tools to decide on retrofitting of their existing vessels. In view of the current changes in regulations in this area, it is a very actual topic.”– What kind of maritime projects are available?“The EU wants the Horizon 2020 programme to stimulate innovation, but also to contribute to EU-objectives, such as social, environmental and economical. Maritime themes certainly fit within these objectives. For 2015, I think the three most relevant topics for the maritime industry are Robotics (ICT24) since the developments in 3D-printing, digitalisation et cetera are really interesting for the production process; Renewable energy (LCE3) and System modelling and lifecycle cost optimisation for waterborne assets (MG4.3). There are some other maritime topics and there are more to come, but still we think that there are not enough. That is why Vessels of the Future, a European research organisation, was established. Around 50 European maritime companies, research institutes, universities and branch organisations, seven of which are from the Netherlands, joined the initiative to promote maritime research, development and innovation and influence the agenda of the EC, primarily for the 2016-2017 programme. ”– What are the pros and cons of this programme?“To participate in the programme, you need to be willing to share the company’s knowledge with the other participants in the consortium. Companies can profit from the vast knowledge base within the consortium. Next to this, starting a project within the Horizon 2020 programmes requires a long-term effort. The selection period alone takes about half a year and the projects themselves mostly take around three years to complete. On the upside, Horizon 2020 can act as a lever for your company, since the costs for your efforts and research will be reimbursed by the EU while you are gaining knowledge. Furthermore, the network possibilities you will create by joining a consortium are tremendous. This can be exploited even after the project has finished. And lastly, you are visibly performing RDI, which will have a positive influence on your company’s reputation.”Anne Kregting
Solicitors paid less to insurers for professional indemnity insurance (PII) this year than they did in the previous two years, Solicitors Regulation Authority figures revealed today. The cost of insuring the profession on the open market this year was £214m, down from £241m in 2009/10 and £226m in 2008/09. The news comes after some solicitors reported large increases in premiums and exceptionally difficult market conditions for the third renewal period in a row. The SRA figures also show a marked difference in insurers’ participation in the market, in terms of their share of the £214m premium pool. Chartis Insurance, formerly AIG, increased its share of the market, taking slightly more than 18% of premiums this year compared with 15.2% in 2009/10. It was followed as market leader by: Inter Hannover (14.4%, up from 4.5%); XL Insurance (13.3%, up from 7.1%); Zurich (12.9%, up slightly from 12.8%); and Travelers (11%, down from 13.4%). XL and Inter Hannover entered the solicitors PII market in 2009. Before 2008/09, insurance costs fell by up to 10% each year following the abolition of the solicitors’ indemnity fund (SIF). In 2000, the last year of the SIF, the cost of insuring the profession was £255m.
Courts in London have been disrupted this week because of ‘teething problems’ with the new courier service employed to deliver Crown Prosecution Service files to court. An executive officer of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association, Greg Powell, told the Gazette that prosecution files arrived late at some courts on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. A CPS spokeswoman said that the problems followed a new contract with couriers City Sprint to deliver files in London, which began on 6 June, after the previous service it used closed down. She said: ‘At the start of this week a number of files were delivered late to some courts in London. However, casework was handled on a daily basis and this temporary problem has now been resolved.’ The spokeswoman said that the issues were caused by problems with access to police stations for the couriers and general ‘teething problems’ experienced by City Sprint. She said the CPS had been working with City Sprint, which already has a contract to deliver files nationally, since February to prepare it for the extension of the contract in London. In the meantime, she said prosecutors and other CPS staff had been doing everything they could to get files to court, including taking taxis. The CPS said that one case of assault was dismissed on Wednesday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, due in part to the fact that the file was still on its way to court. In that case, she said there were a number of other reasons why the prosecution was not ready to proceed. But she added that the defendant had already pleaded guilty to other offences, which were dealt with. A spokesman for City Sprint said that the problems arose because the start date of the contract had been brought forward due the closure of the previous company used, which happened sooner than had been expected. He said City Sprint had worked hard to resolve all the issues, which it had now done.
The ban on drivers using mobile phones should be extended to include hands-free devices, a group of MPs has told the government. The law should also apply to all mobile phone usage, not just the sending and receiving of data, it said.The Commons transport select committee said the fact that hands-free devices can be used lawfully ‘creates the misleading impression that hands-free is safe use’. The report says that in reality using a hands-free device ‘creates the same risks of a collision as using a hand-held mobile’.According to one expert quoted in the report, conducting a hands-free call is as distracting as being at the UK legal limit for alcohol blood level.The select committee recommended, therefore, that the government extend the ban on driving while using a hand-held mobile phone to hands-free devices.At the moment, the law also states that a driver commits the offence of driving while using a mobile phone only if they are sending or receiving data. The committee recommends that the government redefine the offence so that it includes all mobile usage, such as taking videos at the wheel.The number of mobile phone motoring offences which have resulted in enforcement action has fallen by more than two thirds since 2011. According to the report, this has coincided with year-on-year increases in the number of casualties in collisions where a driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor.The select committee said that government should review the penalty for using a mobile phone at the wheel, which is currently 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. Over a third of respondents to a 2016 government consultation suggested higher fines, ranging from £250 to £10,000.The select committee said: ‘Higher penalties are clearly not a panacea to the problem of motorists driving while using a mobile phone, but penalties are a good way for the government to signal the seriousness of an offence.’Paul Loughlin, motoring solicitor at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, said: ‘For many, these proposals will be a welcome step forward. However, the proposals also raise questions around the ability of the police to enforce these laws.’It’s much easier to spot a driver using a hand-held device behind the wheel than it would be for a driver using a hands-free device. It’s also not clear how the police would enforce this law with motorcyclists who use Bluetooth helmets.’
Insurance risk and commercial law specialist BLM is to cut almost 90 jobs as it ‘rapidly accelerates’ its digital strategy. Two UK offices will also close in a move to full-time remote working.In all, 89 roles are expected to be axed in the firm’s legal support and corporate services teams, following a redundancy consultation.Senior partner Matthew Harrington said the firm ‘could never have fully known the impact this pandemic would have [on] our business and the need to rapidly accelerate our digital strategy’.He added: ‘Usually, such transformational change would evolve over many months and even years and in turn we would manage and adapt our workforce over time. We are now faced with having to adapt our internal teams to reflect the way we have all been working throughout the last few months as well as the skills and resources we need, and the way in which we want to operate as a firm in the future.’Meanwhile, BLM will not renew its leases in Bristol and Leeds, which expire in November and March respectively. Staff who usually attend these offices will move to permanent remote working. Harrington said: ‘Whilst we are ceasing to have a physical office in Bristol and Leeds, our colleagues will be very much a part of the future of BLM supporting the firm’s clients as they do now. This is an opportunity to launch a new way of working, retaining local links but operating in a virtual way. Essentially, we will continue to be an efficient and dynamic firm, challenging the conventional status quo of the insurance law market.’Last month international firm Dentons also announced it is shutting two UK offices to cater for full-time remote working. Offices in Aberdeen and Watford will be vacated with all partners and employees continuing with their current virtual working arrangements.
The French government has created the €40m EMEF modernisation fund to take minority stakes in suppliers to encourage consolidation within the rail sector and create companies large enough to innovate and compete more effectively at home and abroad (RG 2.12 p25). Alstom, Bombardier, RATP and SNCF are all expected to contribute.Nigeria’s federal government is planning legal reforms to permit states and the private sector to participate in railway development. Passengers with monthly tickets for services in northern Italy operated by Trenord can now renew monthly tickets stored on smartcards by making payments using cash machines. The German Land of Schleswig-Holstein has awarded Nordbahn the Netz Mitte passenger operating contract. On March 19 PKP Cargo was certified to become an independent train operator in Austria; it was already certified for Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and is undergoing the process for Belgium, the Netherlands and Hungary. Toronto public transport agency Metrolinx has paid C$310·5m to acquire two sections of Canadian National’s Bala and Oakville subdivisions in the Toronto area which are used by GO Transit commuter services. Ports de Paris has selected Colas Rail and Eurotunnel subsidiary Europorte to manage and operate the 60 km of railway within the ports of Gennevilliers, Bonneuil-sur-Marne and Limay. Europorte has similar contracts at Dunkerque, Saint-Nazaire, Le Havre and Rouen. The Canadian government has provided C$7·5m to match a provincial contribution which will enable track and bridges on the Vancouver Island railway to be upgraded to enable the suspended passenger service to be reinstated. The Wuhan – Guangzhou and Guangzhou – Shenzhen high speed lines have been linked, enabling through trains from Wuhan to Shenzhen to be introduced on April 1. ADIF has completed a project to lower the Barcelona – Portbou main line running through the centre of Montmeló, including the construction of a 13 km tunnel, a 232 m viaduct and a station for RENFE suburban sevices. Work continues on the parallel alignment for the high speed line between Barcelona and Figueres.
Happy Monday everyone! Today is February 20. We’re taking a look at some of the top stories that are making the news across your Caribbean-American community right here in South Florida.Almost 1,500 Trinidad and Tobago nationals have been detained in sting operations targeting undocumented immigrants last week. The Caribbean nationals are among 50,000 persons who have been caught in the dragnet which picked up steam since President Donald Trump signed an executive order two weeks ago.People’s National Party President in waiting Dr Peter Phillips has issued a warning to his loyalists that supporting him will not mean an automatic ticket to a lofty position in the party he leads. Phillips said he will be using a fine-toothed comb to ferret the best persons available to keep the opposition party viable and keep the ruling Jamaica Labour Party on its toes.United Nations Peacekeepers may leave the Caribbean country of Haiti after camping there for 13 years. The UN has been in negotiations with the Haitian government with a view of withdrawing its peacekeeping forces. Some soldiers who have been deployed to Haiti have been accused of sexual abuse and a cholera outbreak that killed 10,000 Haitians after the 2010 earthquake in the impoverished nation.In SportsDouble Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson stormed to victory in the women’s 60 metre at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix in a world leading 6.98 seconds as she made her professional debut at the Birmingham Grand Prix on Saturday. She established her personal best and a new stadium record, as she led a clean sweep for Jamaica as Gayon Evans and Christania Williams were second and third respectively.Here’s What’s TrendingReggae historian Roger Steffens, says eight-time Grammy award winner, Ziggy Marley, should stop accepting the awards as they are undeserved. Steffens said Ziggy Marley should display grace and announce that that there are others in the industry who are more deserving of the awards. Marley’s wife sits on the Grammy board and no Marley has been rejected once they have been nominated for the Reggae award.For tomorrows weather forecastIt will be partly cloudy in Broward County and sunny in Miami-Dade County with a High of 82 degrees and a low of 62. For more information on these and other stories, visit us online at Caribbeannationalweekly.com. Make Sure to pick up your copy of the National Weekly at your nearest Caribbean American outlet.Today’s coverage was brought to you by Grace Soups: Spice up your kitchen with Grace Soups today. Genuine Caribbean taste enjoyed worldwide!”This has been CNW90, I’m ……………………..