Canadian pension fund manager Ivanhoe Cambridge has tied up with Hong Kong’s PAG to chase the returns available from warehouses in Japan, according to an announcement today by the two firms.
Together, Ivanhoe Cambridge and PAG aim to invest up to $400 million through their Japan Logistics Venture, which they have established to acquire and build core logistics facilities in Tokyo and Osaka, as well as potential projects in Nagoya. The new vehicle will focus on urban and last mile projects which can serve e-commerce demand, the joint announcement said.
“This partnership continues the roll-out of our global conviction for logistics, and in that global context, these chosen target cities in Japan are attractive as they are highly urbanised, have low vacancies and there is significant room to grow in their e-commerce penetration rates,” said George Agethen, senior vice president for Asia Pacific at Ivanhoe Cambridge.
Through investments with Logos Property, the Canadian firm has already built warehouse holdings in Southeast Asia, Australia, China and India and will further expand that portfolio by working with PAG, which has been implementing real estate investment strategies in Japan for more than two decades.
Sheds to Speed Deliveries
In preparation for the new venture, the partners had already identified a pipeline of investment opportunities before the deal was announced, with a focus on assembling a portfolio ready to meet the demands of e-commerce companies and the third-party logistics providers that help to deliver a growing flow of parcels.
“We expect the logistics sector in Japan to remain a durable and attractive opportunity, and we look forward to working with Ivanhoe Cambridge as they continue to grow their portfolio in the region,” said PAG Group president and managing partner for real estate Jon Paul Toppino.
Ivanhoe Cambridge is taking the majority stake in the joint venture, while PAG will manage the portfolio, with both firms participating in the investment committee which will govern the enterprise.
The two investment companies have a history of working together, with Ivanhoe Cambridge having first invested in PAG’s opportunistic SCREP funds in 2017, before following up by becoming limited partner in their core plus and value add PREP vehicle.
Building a Francophone Portfolio
While the potential for returns from owning high quality warehouse has been building for more than a decade, investments in the sector have ramped up significantly as COVID-19 has rocked traditional businesses and supercharged online shopping.
“Logistics has proven to be highly resilient during this pandemic and will remain a key focus in the coming years, especially in Asia Pacific, where we are already invested in Singapore, Australia, China, India and Indonesia,” Ivanhoe Cambridge’s Agethen noted.
With over $50 billion in real estate assets under management as of the end of 2019, Ivanhoe Cambridge has been one of the major backers of warehouse ventures in Asia Pacific, including owning a stake in Sydney-based developer and fund manager Logos Property.
In August last year, the division of Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) teamed up with Logos to purchase a Melbourne site for a $179 million logistics project. That deal came just four months after the Canadian firm has teamed up with the Netherlands’ Bouwinvest and Logos for an $800 million joint venture in China.
Centre Stage for Last Mile
With online shoppers continuing to push for shorter delivery times, more e-commerce providers are looking to lease last mile facilities closer to their customers in major cities.
In October of last year Nuveen Real Estate spent $122 million to acquire a last mile logistics facility just outside of Seoul, with the affiliate of US financial giant TIAA pointing to growing e-commerce demand in its rationale for that deal.
Just one month later, Singapore’s GIC committed an undisclosed sum to a European last mile logistics joint venture with the UK’s Melcombe Partners, which in August had been part of a deal to sell an existing portfolio of European last mile projects to Blackstone in a $321 million transaction.