One of Asia Pacific’s largest managers of logistics real estate assets this month put a coda on its latest Japan acquisition by announcing new equity funding for a purchase of stakes in four warehouse assets near Tokyo and Osaka.
LaSalle Investment Management sold JPY 48.5 billion ($456 million) in units for its Tokyo-listed LaSalle Logiport REIT, with the net proceeds being used to buy out partner stakes in logistics properties as the COVID-19 crisis continues to drive demand for stabilised warehouse assets in core markets in Japan.
In a statement referring to the listed trust’s strategy in its acquisition of the stakes, Mark Gabbay, CEO for Asia Pacific at LaSalle Investment Management said, “With LLR, we are responding to strong investor appetite for quality logistics assets in Japan.”
The financing by LaSalle, which is an independent real estate investment management affiliate of property services giant Jones Lang LaSalle, completes an investment first announced last month and comes at the same time that some of the firm’s largest competitors rush to raise new capital and purchase additional assets as Japanese warehouses continue to grow in favour among institutional investors.
Boosting Stakes in Tokyo, Osaka Projects
LaSalle Logiport REIT’s equity sale is being used to help fund a JPY 76.4 billion acquisition first announced in August of stakes in four of its Logiport branded logistics facilities from partners including Mitsubishi Estate and developer Nippo Corp.
The investment manager had co-developed or purchased Logiport Kawasaki Bay, Logiport Shinmoriya, Logiport Amagasaki and Logiport Sakai together with its partners and used the acquisition to boost its holdings in the facilities.
“Robust growth in e-commerce and the drive for supply chain efficiencies, together with the institutionalization of logistics facilities as a real asset in Japan, continue to boost demand for modern logistics properties,” said Keith Fujii, CEO and president of Japan for LaSalle, adding that, “Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, we are confident that both investors and tenants will continue to recognize the value of large-scale, high-performance logistics facilities.”
|Asset Name||Stake Purchased||Consideration (JPY Mil)||Cap Rate||SQM (NLA)||Occupancy||Location|
|Logiport Kawasaki Bay||40%||32,200||4.00%||261,801||99.66%||Tokyo area|
|Logiport Shinmoriya||100%||8,580||4.50%||37,092||100.00%||Tokyo area|
|Logiport Amagasaki||49%||23,618||4.50%||216,458||99.69%||Osaka area|
|Logiport Sakai||50%||12,075||4.40%||112,711||98.49%||Osaka area|
|Source: LaSalle Logiport REIT|
LaSalle Logiport REIT, which following the transaction will count 18 properties across its portfolio, is acquiring its stakes in the properties at an average 8.07 percent discount to their recently appraised values and at an average capitalisation rate of 4.35 percent, according to a company statement detailing the transaction.
The four warehouses, which range from 37,092 to 307,485 square metres in size, are fully leased out at an average occupancy level of 99.46 percent, to a mixture of logistics providers, manufacturers and other tenants. As of this month, LaSalle Logiport REIT’s portfolio in Japan covered some 1.86 million square metres.
On 1 September LaSalle Logiport REIT had announced that it had secured a set of syndicated loans totalling JPY 34.1 billion from lenders led by MUFG Bank, Mizuho Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, which would also help finance the acquisition.
LaSalle’s Gabbay pointed to the potential for further acquisitions in the future by adding, “Going forward, we will continue to grow and strengthen our portfolio with an active management strategy that leverages the global investment management knowledge of the LaSalle Group, as well as the deep expertise of our on-the-ground team.”
Japanese Sheds Heat Up
LaSalle is investing in its fully let facilities at a time when tight supply in Japan’s major markets is driving up leasing rates for warehouse space.
Effective rents for logistics space in the Greater Tokyo area rose by 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the preceding three months, according to CBRE, which noted in a recent report that 60 percent of the new warehouse facilities scheduled for completion around Japan’s capital this year are already spoken for.
In Osaka, CBRE reported that the vacancy rate at logistics properties over one year old stood at 2.8 percent in the second quarter – the lowest level since mid-2017, with rents also headed upwards in the country’s second-largest commercial hub.
To help keep pace with this demand, LaSalle’s rivals in the industrial real estate investment world have been busy with their own ventures in Japan.
In August, logistics giant GLP launched a new $2.6 billion open-ended Japan fund aimed at monetising its existing assets and project pipeline in the country, with Canada’s CPPIB taking a $235 million slice of that vehicle.
Also during August, a REIT controlled by Japan’s Mitsubishi Estate invested JPY 2.8 billion in acquiring a local logistics portfolio, including acquiring a 37.5 percent stake in an Osaka facility which it had co-developed with LaSalle.