CapitaLand Investment Ltd has teamed up with PGIM Real Estate and a set of Japanese investors in separate deals establishing a pair of private funds in Japan and South Korea worth S$688 million ($510 million), as the Singapore-based fund manager builds up its stock in two of the biggest economies in Asia.
In Japan, CapitaLand Investment set up a new JPY 44.1 billion ($390 million) joint venture vehicle with a set of four local capital partners to acquire stakes in a pair of Greater Tokyo office projects, while in Korea, it has set up a logistics fund, which is seeded with a pair of Seoul-area cold storage centres valued at KRW 127.1 billion ($110 million), according to a release on Wednesday.
The pair of new ventures were revealed on the same day that the newly established fund management division of Southeast Asia’s largest real estate firm announced its third quarter earnings, with CapitaLand Group’s chief executive hailing the Japan and Korea deals as evidence of its prospects as it transition from developing real estate to managing property investments.
“CLI’s establishment of the two new private funds shortly after its public listing demonstrates capital partners’ confidence in us as an asset-light, capital-efficient global real estate investment manager,” Lee Chee Koon, Group CEO of CapitaLand Investment said in the statement. “Fund management and capital recycling are two of our key growth strategies.”
Greater Tokyo Office Venture
The SGX-listed unit of CapitaLand Group has a five-percent stake in each of the two funds, with the Japanese partners buying a combined 95 percent stake in Orchid One GK fund and PGIM Real Estate taking a 95 percent share in the South Korea venture.
In Japan, CapitaLand Investment has joined with railway operator Keikyu Corp, and real estate firms Taisei Corp, Fuyo General Lease and Odakyu Real Estate to launch “Orchid One GK.
The new vehicle acquired a 50-percent stake in Yokohama Blue Avenue, a 17-storey office building near the Shin-Takashima metro station, from another fund managed by CapitaLand, a company spokesperson confirmed. The remaining half of the asset’s equity will be retained by the CapitaLand Open End Real Estate Fund (COREF).
The fund will also take a 20 percent stake in Shinjuku Front Tower, a 35-storey structure near the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office in Tokyo’s Shinjuku business district.
CapitaLand will remain the asset manager of both projects, which are currently being rented by multiple, unspecified tenants.
Gerald Yong, chief executive of Capitaland’s international division, said the divestment proceeds of the two structures, which currently have high occupancy rates, will be used to increase the company’s foothold in Japan.
Korean Cold Chain
In South Korea, CapitaLand Investment has partnered with PGIM Real Estate to establish CapitaLand Korea No.10 Qualified Private Real Estate Investment Company, which has been seeded with a pair of cold chain facilities purchased from local catering firm Foodist.
“The new logistics fund allows us to tap into the country’s fast expanding e-commerce market,” Yong said. “With COVID-19, there is growing interest in logistics investment especially in cold storage logistics properties.”
In Gyeonggi province the new venture has acquired the Foodist Icheon Centre, a 24,606 square metre (264,856 square foot) food distribution hub along the Yeongdong Expressway and National Highway 3.
“PGIM Real Estate has been an active investor in the Seoul market since 2003. This acquisition of the Foodist cold storage logistics facilities, in partnership with CapitaLand, builds on the strong investment track record we have in the market,” PGIM Real Estate Head of Asia Pacific Benett Theseira said on Wednesday.
“It is also reflective of the successful shift in weightage we have made across our portfolios to enhance logistics exposure following significant transactions of logistics assets in Australia and China over the course of this year,” added Theseira, who believes investment performance on cold storage properties will remain strong in APAC markets, including South Korea.
Korean buyout firm VIG Partners had begun marketing the Icheon Foodist facility in June of this year, based on a report by South Korean English news site Pulse.
The second logistics asset is the 8,716 square metre Foodist Gyeongin Centre near the Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port that serves as the gateway for trade between China and Korea. A report in local news site The Bell, indicated that VIG Partners had sold both facilities to the CapitaLand fund.
CapitaLand’s Yong said the joint venture with PGIM Real Estate marked the third private fund focused on “new economy assets” established by CapitaLand Group in Korea in just over a year, after its launch of the KRW 140.7 billion ($120 million) Korea Data Centre Fund 2 in May, which was a follow-on to the first version of that digital infrastructure fund, which was set up in October 2020.
Fee Income Drives Growth
CapitaLand Investment will earn an undisclosed amount from fees charged in managing the two funds and assets, including the stable fee-related cash flow from the long-term master leases of local food wholesaler Foodist’s logistics hubs.
“We will continue to grow our funds business including launching new funds across different real estate asset classes as well as tapping new fundraising channels,” Lee said. “CLI remains focused on scaling our FUM (funds under management) and FRE (fee-related earnings) to generate sustainable returns for our stakeholders.”
Year to date, Lee said the company launched a total of seven new funds and raised S$1.4 billion ($1.04 billion) in equity from external investors as it strives to grow its funds under management following CapitaLand Investment’s launch on the Singapore Exchange in September.
In a separate update on Wednesday, CapitaLand Investment noted its fee-related earnings via fund management spiked by 33 percent to S$94.6 million in the third quarter from S$71.1 million a year ago on growing pool of funds under management, which went up by nine percent year on year to S$84.3 billion at the end of September.
The growth in fee earnings was also partly driven by capital recycling, which totaled S$17.6 billion from 34 transactions during the nine-month period.
“Our FUM has increased to S$84.3 billion, placing us on track to meet our FUM target of S$100 billion by 2024,” Lee said.
CapitaLand Group has restructured its business by privatizing its development arm and transforming its investment management unit to become Asia’s biggest fund manager in Asia and the third largest in the world. Just last week, the asset manager hired former executives from BlackRock and Brookfield to boost its private real estate fund management business.
Note: This story has been update to show that Gerald Yong is CEO of CapitaLand Investment (International). An earlier version had identified Yong as CEO of CapitaLand Investment. Mingtiandi regrets the error.