Canary Wharf
Left to right: The Reuters Building, 1 Canada Square, Citigroup Centre, Canary Wharf tube station and 10 Upper Bank StreetDAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

China has snapped up one of London's most iconic skyscrapers for £795m from the Canary Wharf Group.

CWG confirmed in a statement to IBTimes UK that the money from the sale of 10 Upper Bank Street to the Asian government-back insurer China Life will help it pay down its debt and generate around £40m (€50m, $68m) in cash every year for the group until 2019.

"This is the first transaction of its kind for China Life and it's great that we have now established an important future relationship with one of the world's leading companies on this matter," said John Garwood, company secretary of Songbird Estates, which is CWG's parent holding firm, to IBTimes UK.

"It's been in discussion for the past few months but it is premature to say that there are any other deals happening."

Garwood added that the sale would change the loan-to-value on its portfolio to 58% from 63% and help refinance its debt.

CWG is an integrated property development, investment and management group of companies and focuses on the design, construction, leasing and management of Grade A office space and high-quality retail and leisure facilities in central London.

CWG has been responsible for regenerating derelict wharves in the capital into one of the world's most famous business and shopping districts, with the construction of 16 million square feet of office space, which is occupied by over 100,000 people.

Following the sale of 10 Upper Bank Street, China Life will own 70% of the building while Qatar Holdings will retain 20% and CWG 10%. Qatar is a shareholder in Songbird Estates.

Currently, the building generates £44.4m in rent a year and is leased, at the moment, by law firm Clifford Chance.

"Not only does this deal forge a strong relationship with China but it also extends our existing relationship with Qatar too," added Garwood, when IBTimes UK asked about whether there were more major property deals in the works.

"However, while we are only looking to sell the Northern Trust building at the moment, we are always open to finding the right price for the right asset value on the property."