Credit Suisse AG is raising its profile in the Asia Pacific real estate scene, with its asset management arm picking up two office properties in New Zealand and Japan on the same day last week for a total of around $100 million.
Credit Suisse Asset Management Global Real Estate bought up the HSBC Tower, a landmark office building in downtown Wellington, New Zealand for NZ$102.5 million ($71.8 million), while in Yokohama, the unit of the Swiss financial group purchased a smaller office asset for $27.6 million. The two acquisitions were made on behalf of the firm’s existing open-ended global core funds managed out of Zurich.
The company, which as of January managed a $48 billion portfolio of real estate assets worldwide, is on the hunt for a broader array of properties across the region. “Generally speaking we are continuing to seek assets in major cities in APAC to provide a stable income stream to our global core fund,” commented Christopher Chiang, director and head of APAC for the Global Real Estate division to Mingtiandi.
“We are currently a bit overweight in Australia and Japan so our attention this year is to diversify our exposure to other markets like New Zealand, Singapore and Korea,” he added.
Asset Manager Buys Landmark Tower in NZ Capital
Credit Suisse Asset Management bought Wellington’s 26-storey HSBC Tower from local philanthropist and private investor, Mark Dunajtschik, who purchased the site in 1998 and built the tower in 2002. The fully tenanted, class A property at 195 Lambton Quay is anchored by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), which occupies 15 levels in the property.
Other tenants in the office tower include HSBC and commercial law firm Simpson Grierson. Located on the city’s downtown shopping street, the 15,332 square metre building includes a retail portion and a penthouse apartment. The sale was brokered by CBRE.
“The HSBC Tower in aspiring Wellington is an attractive proposition for our clients and is consistent with our strategy of further strengthening our investment allocation in preferred property markets such as New Zealand,” commented Christoph Schumacher, head of global real estate at Credit Suisse Asset Management in a statement.
Office Buy Follows Aussie Asset Sales
The Wellington deal follows a series of disposals by the company in Australia, totalling around A$340 million ($260 million) this year. In February, Credit Suisse Asset Management completed the sale of three office buildings at 45 St Georges Terrace in Perth for A$54.2 million and the following month it sold a Sydney office block, 52 Goulburn Street, for A$176 million. The firm is also in the process of selling 400 Kent Street in Sydney. Proceeds from these sales have been partially recycled into the new acquisitions.
As it invests in New Zealand, Credit Suisse Asset Management is also adding to its portfolio further north by picking up a freehold, eight-storey building in Yokohama, Japan’s second most populous city for 3 billion yen ($27.6 million). The property, Prime Tower Yokohama in the central Kannai area, brings the company’s Japanese portfolio to seven office assets and one retail property spread across cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka, according to Chiang.
The asset management arm, which is part of the Credit Suisse’s International Wealth Management division, manages assets worth over $410 billion worldwide. The Swiss-based firm set up its first real estate office in Asia in 2007.