Madison International Sells Premier Oslo Office Asset

Statoil ASA's regional headquarters fetched $465 million in one of Norway's largest office transactions.
Statoil office building, Oslo

Statoil office building, Oslo

Oslo and New York—Less than two years after Madison International Realty increased its stake in the Statoil office complex in Oslo, Norway, the investment company has sold the 721,000-square-foot property to a Norwegian consortium of investors led by Arctic Securities. The regional headquarters building, fully leased to international energy company Statoil ASA until 2027, fetched $465 million in one of Norway’s largest office transactions year to date.

Keen on the Norway real estate market and the Statoil tower in particular, Madison had snapped up a larger interest in the asset for $110 million in October 2014, boosting its original 35 percent equity stake—purchased soon after the complex’s completion in 2012—by an additional 59.5 percent. Two appears to have been a magic number at the Statoil building, with Madison making strategic moves for the property every two years until now. Timing is everything, and the timing is good for sellers in Oslo’s office sector.

“The market in Oslo has seen significant cap rate/yield compression driven by continued strength in market demographics, and strong interest from an ever-growing group of international buyers who had previously ignored the market,” Derek Jacobson, managing director at Madison International Realty, told Commercial Property Executive. “The demand for assets has also increased with the relative attractiveness of the Norwegian Kroner.”

Sited in Norway’s coveted Fornebu submarket, the nine-story Statoil building’s stunning design, conceived by the architectural firm A-Lab, can’t be ignored. Icon status, a credit tenant monopolizing the tenant roster for the long term, and a premier location: the property is an investor’s dream. Oslo’s office market is also the stuff of reveries. Last year brought record-breaking transactions that far surpassed industry predictions, according to a report by commercial real estate services firm JLL, which, along with Akershus Eiendom, advised Madison on the disposition. Across Norway, direct investment in commercial real estate skyrocketed 54 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Madison’s sale of the Statoil headquarters is hardly indicative of a waning interest in Norway; the company continues to be enthusiastic about the country’s real estate market. “Norway remains attractive from the perspective of real estate and demographic fundamentals,” Jacobson said. “Much of the institutional real estate is owned fractionally which lends itself to our strategy of focusing on high-quality real estate owned in partnership.”