$1B price tag for 'Erotic Gherkin'
ZURICH, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Swiss Reinsurance Co. said Monday it agreed to sell its London headquarters, the 40-story glass skyscraper to a German real-estate company for 600 million pounds (US$1.18 billion).
The skyscraper at 30 St. Mary Axe, nicknamed "The Gherkin" -- or more cheekily, "The Erotic Gherkin" --because of its resemblance to a pickle, can be seen from far outside the center of the capital.
Designed by Norman Foster, the building won the top prize in British architecture in 2004, the Royal Institute of British Architects' Stirling Prize.
Swiss Re, one of the world's largest reinsurance companies, had said in September that it was considering a sale. It will remain as a tenant after the sale to real-estate corporation IVG Immobilien AG.
"In IVG Immobilien AG we have found a future owner who will maintain and preserve the superior quality of this outstanding property," Swiss Re Chief Executive Jacques Aigrain said.
Wolfhard Leichnitz, chief executive of IVG Immobilien, called the property "an attractive investment for our funds investors, not only visually but also from an investment perspective."
The transaction is expected to close in February, Swiss Re said in a statement.
Shares in Swiss Re shares slipped 0.8 percent to 103 Swiss francs (US$82.57) in Zurich.