BP to sell London headquarters as work style shifts, says report

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) – BP plans to sell its headquarters in central London as it cuts jobs and adopts flexible working, The Times reported on Sunday (Aug 30).

The oil major, which employs 6,500 office staff in the UK, plans to rent back the building on St James’s Square from the new owner for as long as two years before leaving for good, the newspaper said, without citing anyone. BP declined to comment on “rumour or speculation” to the paper.

BP joins other employers that are changing their work styles after many employees began working at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chief executive officer Bernard Looney has said the company will move to a mixture of home and office working.

The plan highlights the uncertainty the property market is facing as the coronavirus sent office workers to set-ups in their kitchens or living rooms, emptying towers in the City and Canary Wharf business centers and elsewhere across London.

Only 13 per cent of people were back to their offices this month in London, and across the nation’s 63 biggest urban centres, the number was 17 per cent, the newspaper said, citing analysis of mobile phone data.

The building, which BP bought for £117 million in 2001, could be priced at more than £300 million (S$544 million) today, the newspaper said.

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