With shrinking yields and fewer buying opportunities in the core logistics segment, warehouse development in up-and-coming Asian markets offers an alternative investment strategy, a panel of experts told MTD TV on Tuesday.
For the latest instalment of Asia Logistics Investment Forum 2021, Mingtiandi founder Michael Cole welcomed Michael Chan, sales director at BW Industrial; Priyank Shah, director for APAC capital markets at JLL; Jai Mirpuri, head of Singapore development and Thailand at ESR; and Peter Garrison, head of strategic customers at Logos.
The hour-long session, which was sponsored by Yardi, provided an overview of how the asset class is progressing as logistics investors launch new projects in the fast-growing markets of India, Vietnam and other potential hotspots in developing Asia.
Decades in the Making
ESR’s Mirpuri, representing the largest APAC-focused logistics real estate platform, gave a quick history lesson to trace the evolution of investment strategies in the region.
“You can go back to 1999, when Prologis set up an office in Japan, you had GIC actually come in as their partner, we’re talking about 20 years ago, and start developments in Japan,” he said. “It’s progressed from Japan, to China, Hong Kong of course was always a market where you had Goodman doing a lot of work back then. So it’s basically been something that’s a long time in the making.”
The same strategies applied to those mature markets — with capital furnished by sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, insurance companies and other yield-hungry money managers — are now being replicated in Southeast Asia, Mirpuri said.
That shift south from China and east from India has provided an opening for Chan’s Vietnam-based BW. The biggest industrial developer in the rapidly modernising nation launched a joint venture with Hong Kong-listed ESR in May to develop My Phuoc 4 Industrial Park near Ho Chi Minh City with 240,000 square metres (2,583,339 square feet) of logistics and light industrial facilities.
“Vietnam has become a very hot location for attracting foreign direct investment,” Chan said. “Korea, Japan, all these funds are also very interested in the Vietnam market.”
Multinationals based in Asia’s big economies are no strangers to Vietnam, given their long history of setting up factories there, he said.
India’s New Wave
Also on the topic of dynamic markets, India has emerged in the last several years as a favourite destination for development-minded investors, with a $297 million CapitaLand logistics fund announced this month just the latest example.
JLL’s Shah sees a new wave of logistics development underway in the South Asian giant, but much will depend on investors’ ability to source land and infrastructure and sign up local partners.
“Some have been successful, some are taking a bit more time,” he said, “but I think there is a significant wave of capital wanting to deploy money on India, and most of it is going to be development strategies because the existing stock is not deep enough to trade.”
Garrison, who manages client requirements for Sydney-based Logos, expects data centres to become a natural add-on in locations where the company has existing logistics properties — as demonstrated by a server-hosting joint venture his company recently announced with UK-based Pure at Logos’s Metrolink hub in Jakarta.
“That’s effectively slotting in a data centre user into a building that is already quite interesting, I think, from what we consider to be the emerging logistics sector ecosystem,” he said, noting that the new facility completes a set of “four pillars” present at Metrolink: large-footprint warehousing, perishables storage, last-mile logistics and data centres.
With logistics investors seeking reliable returns underpinned by creditworthy tenants, data centres are attractive because they typically have much longer-term leases than warehouses do, Garrison said.
You can watch the full discussion above.
Checking In With China
The final session of Asia Logistics Investment Forum 2021 on 21 July will focus on logistics and e-commerce in mainland China, with appearances by Victor Mok, chairman and chief executive of the asset management platform for GLP China, Cushman & Wakefield head of investors services for Asia Pacific Dennis Yeo, and ESR China chief operating officer Zhou Bo.
The month of August brings Sustainable Real Estate Forum 2021, presenting three sessions on the advantages of creating sustainable offices and facilities, as well as how green financing is rewarding developers and asset managers that prioritise green objectives.
Mingtiandi has recently completed a survey of the role of sustainability in Asia’s real estate sector, with the results of the research to be revealed during the August event.