After building a portfolio of 14 commercial properties in Australia, Singapore’s Rockworth Capital Partners is moving rapidly to add new asset classes and strategies as it seeks to grow its eight-year-old business.
Rockworth has found the Australian market to be a rewarding investment destination, but with an expanding industry network and maturing team, the real estate asset manager also sees the potential to manage profitable investments in more markets.
“Over the past five years, Australia has been one of the top performing commercial real estate markets in the region,” CEO and founder Lim Kin Song said. “However, with real estate becoming recognised as a global asset class and strong fundamentals driving Asia Pacific growth, we are looking to diversify and are taking a closer look at other key developed markets or gateway cities in the region such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea and China.”
An investment in an Australian property fund manager earlier this year helped Rockworth to expand its capabilities in hotels and value add strategies while boosting its gross AUM to more than A$2 billion.
Now the company is exploring opportunities both in new asset classes and in locations beyond Australia, as it prepares to reach its goal of becoming one of the top Singapore-based private real estate fund managers.
Pursuing Hotel Opportunities
With its commercial real estate portfolio now spanning Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, Rockworth has commenced the process to add hotel investments into the group’s core competencies. As part of this expansion, three months ago the company took an 18 percent stake in ASX-listed Elanor Investors Group, which specialises in hotel and value-add projects among other real estate strategies.
“We are always keen to expand our footprint in Australia, and are open to working with Elanor or possibly other like-minded partners with the capability and network in the hospitality sector,” Lim told Mingtiandi.
Rockworth is now actively pursuing numerous hotel deals on behalf of its investors, and is concurrently discussing joint venture partnerships with reputable hotel operators.
Breaking into Value-Add Strategies
While hotels are a key new area of expertise for Rockworth, the company also sees opportunities for more value add deals in commercial assets.
In October last year Rockworth entered the Brisbane CBD market through its off-market acquisition of 100 Edward Street to add its fifth asset in Queensland State.
That investment fits into Rockworth’s traditional sweet spot of core/core plus office assets, but now the company sees the opportunity to create its own value-add projects.
“In addition to our core and core plus strategies, we plan to also pursue a value-add strategy for the right deal, to add a potent profit opportunity for our investors”
Rockworth sees the built up of its capabilities through partnerships in Australia, , which potentially may include future joint property funds or club deals, as a significant step towards achieving its goal of increasing its funds under management
Building a Winning Team
After expanding its commercial portfolio and buying into Elanor in Australia, Rockworth is not ruling out further acquisitions or strategic partnerships to help add complementary expertise and expand its market scope.
“We plan to continue our expansion into the Asia market and, as in the case of our Elanor investment, finding partners with complementary skillsets and areas of focus is one of the best ways to move into new segments or locations,” Lim said. “We are confident that our ability and track record in working with leading institutions and other limited partners in the region will open the door to more possibilities for Rockworth and our investors.”
“While we have specialised in commercial real estate, the growth of e-commerce in Australia and other locations around the region continues to make logistics a compelling asset class,” Lim said. The executive indicated that there may be potential for the company to manage investments in warehouses and distribution centres as it continues to expand.
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