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Real Estate News & Analysis: May Edition


Blackstone edges closer to 2 deals; new era for Li Ka-Shing

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of Asia-Pacific real estate news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

Deal or no deal

* Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd. started its plan to exit the real estate market of Chennai, India, in February and about a month after, it disposed of the residential portion for 2.85 billion rupees. Now, less than three months later, it has signed nonbinding agreements with an unnamed investor — reported to be private equity giant Blackstone Group LP in a 9 billion-rupee transaction — for the commercial assets.

* In the land Down Under, Blackstone is tipped to have picked Charter Hall Group as the preferred buyer of its 50% stake in Westpac Place in Sydney, which it placed on the market in January. The interest in the 77,000-square-meter office building is said to carry an A$850 million-plus price tag.

* A twin-tower commercial property in Hong Kong owned by Swire Properties Ltd. has been placed on the market. The Hong Kong developer, however, noted that ongoing talks with unnamed parties do not guarantee the sale of Cityplaza Three and/or Cityplaza Four.

A Moody's vice president and senior analyst, Stephanie Lau, said in a note that if the plan is executed, it will be credit positive for Swire Properties and Swire Pacific Ltd., because proceeds may be used as additional cash for the developer and a way to trim debt for the parent.

* GIC Pvt. Ltd. and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have teamed up to buy the Kumho Asiana Main Tower office tower in Seoul for 418.0 billion won.

* Dubai-based developer Emaar Properties PJSC is looking at at least 1.00 billion rupees from an assets sale in India. Aside from a 90-room hotel, Emaar is also reported to be selling 10 to 15 land plots in the country.

A tycoon's history

* CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. and CK Asset Holdings Ltd. on May 10 entered a new era, as Li Ka-Shing officially passed on the chairmanship mantle to his son, Victor Li Tzar Kuoi. However, even though the tycoon is retiring, a plan announced in March, he will continue to be a senior adviser for both companies.

The 89-year-old billionaire started his empire, then named Cheung Kong Industries, in 1950, and grew it to become a conglomerate, allowing him to clinch the title of Hong Kong's richest man with a net worth of about US$34.4 billion. Li's road to being a real estate magnate started in 1969 and the business was formally incorporated as Hutchison Properties Ltd. in 1971. It would eventually become CK Asset after a reorganization in 2015 and a name change in 2017. Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd., the predecessor of CK Hutchison, was listed in Hong Kong in 1972.

Sharing shares

* Vinhomes JSC is on track to have the biggest IPO in Vietnam, as the Vingroup JSC residential unit is tipped to have priced its share offer at the upper end of a 110,500 dong to 114,700 dong range. The US$1.35 billion offering is expected to conclude with its May 17 debut on the Ho Chi Minh City bourse.

* In the Philippines, South Korean hotel/casino operator Widus International Leisure Inc. is open to listing on the local stock exchange as the US$1.00 billion expansion of its Widus Hotel and Casino forges on. President and CEO Daesik Han said an IPO in the Southeast Asian country could happen within the next three to five years.

Yen and yuan

* Earnings season in Japan is nigh, and major real estate companies reported year-over-year gains in the fiscal year ended March 31.

Mitsui Fudosan Co. Ltd. said profit attributable to its parents was ¥155.87 billion in the fiscal year, up 18.3% year over year and from its most recent guidance of ¥140.00 billion.

Sumitomo Realty & Development Co. Ltd.'s profit attributable to owners of its parent rose 15.7% year over year to ¥119.73 billion from about ¥103.49 billion.

Daiwa House Industry Co. Ltd. topped its ¥216.00 billion attributable net income target for the fiscal year with a result of about ¥236.36 billion, marking an increase of 17.2% year over year.

* In China, local developer Tahoe Group Co. Ltd. and two related companies are working on a 20.01 billion-yuan fund that will invest in real estate projects in Shenzhen. The platform will also be used for equity investment and for mergers and acquisitions.

* Months after a Chinese-led consortium's S$16 billion buyout bid closed, GLP Pte. Ltd. once again finds itself in uncharted territory — private equity. The now-private Singaporean logistics developer has raised 10 billion yuan for its Hidden Hill Modern Logistics Private Equity Fund, a fund that will be used to assist companies that use technology to improve efficiency in the logistics sector.

GLP also recently received a £200 million investment from Oxford Properties Group, which will be used by the former's European Development Partners I logistics fund.

Celest Wong contributed to this report.

As of May 10, US$1 was equivalent to 6.35 yuan, 67.16 rupees, ¥109.58, 1,066.18 won and 22,773 dong.