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New World unit to buy FTLife Insurance for HK$22B; UEM Sunrise stake in sights

* An indirect subsidiary of New World Development Co. Ltd. unit NWS Holdings Ltd. agreed to acquire Hong Kong-based insurer FTLife Insurance Co. Ltd. for HK$21.5 billion in cash, subject to adjustments.

* Tan Sri Halim Saad, former executive chairman at UEM Group Bhd., is reportedly looking to purchase a more than 30% stake in Malaysian property developer UEM Sunrise Bhd. Khazanah Nasional Bhd., which holds a 66% interest in UEM Sunrise, was earlier said to be mulling a stake sale.

* A China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. unit won the tender for an approximately 9,048-square-meter lot in Kai Tak in Kowloon, Hong Kong, at a premium of about HK$8.03 billion. The lot has a maximum allowed gross floor area of 55,192 square meters and is designated for private residential purposes.

Hong Kong, China and Taiwan

* The Asian arm of shared workspace provider WeWork Cos. Inc. will roll out several new technology products or services in China and Hong Kong in 2019 before launching them across the world, The (Hong Kong) Standard reported.

* Sino Land Co. Ltd. will launch a fourth batch of 208 units at its Grand Central Phase 2 in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, on Dec. 29 with a price list of more than HK$3.1 billion, The Standard reported.

* Hengyang, the second-largest city in China's Hunan province, repealed its decision to lift property price restrictions, saying "the order has caused speculation and misunderstanding by the market," Reuters reported. According to the report, the move came after China's real estate firms experienced a surge in share prices, with the government of Hengyang noting that "it misjudged the complexity of housing prices."

* Property consultants are projecting Shanghai and Beijing to continue resisting credit tightening and market slump to maintain high transaction volumes in 2019 due to high demand from overseas investors, the South China Morning Post reported. The share of international investors in Shanghai and Beijing's commercial property transactions has respectively increased to 61% and 30% thus far in 2018, the publication noted.

* A Zhuguang Holdings Group Co. Ltd. unit agreed to purchase the 30% stake it does not own in Guangzhou Yu Ying Property Co. Ltd. for approximately 240 million yuan from its partner Guangzhou Xiu Yuan Property Co. Ltd.

* A unit of Hong Kong-based Landsea Green Group Co. Ltd. nixed a deal to buy Shaanxi Changtai Real Estate Development Co. Ltd. because the land-use rights of its residential development project in the Changan District in China's Shaanxi Province had not yet been confirmed.

* Malaysian property developer Malton Bhd., along with Nan Hai Corp., won a bid to build a superstructure above the airport express train station near the Taipei main train station in Taiwan.


* Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC formed a joint venture with Indian hotel chain Lemon Tree Hotels Ltd. to jointly invest about 30.00 billion rupees to develop student housing and other co-living space in India.


* 'Mum and Dad' investors are looking to inject capital in Australia's commercial property sector as opposed to the weakening residential market, according to a report by JLL. Greater income certainty and relatively small liability on outgoings, among other strengths, are attracting interest from individuals looking to invest in the sector through self-managed super funds.


* Credit Suisse expects more foreign real estate investment trusts to list on the Singaporean bourse in 2019, as investors seek safe-haven assets, The Business Times reported.

* An affiliate of Hong Kong-based real estate investment firm Gaw Capital Partners is reportedly purchasing the Robinson 77 office building, spanning a net leasable area of 307,585 square feet, for about S$710 million from a CLSA Real Estate-managed fund.

* Manulife US REIT said the newly proposed changes to U.S. tax regulations will not have a material impact on its consolidated net tangible assets or distribution per unit, The (Singapore) Business Times reported.

Analysts had previously raised concerns that the new regulations would leave the REIT unable to claim a tax deduction on interest expenses paid to its entity in Barbados, with a 15% maximum downside risk to distribution per unit expected in a worst-case scenario by the company, the publication noted.

Elsewhere in Southeast Asia

* Japanese property companies are looking to develop about 80,000 residential units over a five-year horizon in Southeast Asia, having already built 30,000 residential units in the region in the past five years, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The market is home to 600 million increasingly wealthy consumers that have a high appetite for design principles and specifications that Japanese condo developers use in their local market, the report noted.

* A KB Kookmin Bank-conducted survey revealed that most realtors fear a slump in the South Korean housing market in 2019, with seven out of 10 respondents projecting a slowdown due to government efforts to curb property prices, The Chosun Ilbo reported.

Other real estate news

* Japanese real estate company UNIZO Holdings Co. Ltd. sold an approximately 220,000-square-foot building at 321 W. 44th Street in New York City to the fund-management arm of Related Cos. for US$152.5 million.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific, Real Estate edition is updated by 6:30 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

Abdul Rehman Maqbool contributed to this report.