SEB Asset Management is massively increasing its footprint in Asia. Following on investments in China and Japan, it has acquired a class A office building in Singapore's CBD for a total investment volume equivalent to around €275 million (purchase price plus incidental transaction costs). At the same time SEB is strengthening its local presence. On 1 June 2007, it will open its first foreign office in Singapore, and it has added two Asia experts to its team to assist in its strategic expansion into the Far East.
"Given our internationalisation strategy, now is the time to seize opportunities from up close in the rapidly developing Asian region. By opening an office in Singapore, we are opening the door to one of the most interesting markets of the future", commented Barbara Knoflach, CEO of SEB Asset Management AG, on the aims of the Asian expansion.
SEB adds Asia experts
Today, 1 June 2007, SEB will open its first foreign office in Singapore, expanding its real estate equities and direct investment expertise in the Far East with the help of two proven Asia experts. Beginning on 1 June 2007, Ken-Ji Kok, formerly a Property Analyst at Paribas Securities in Singapore, will strengthen SEB Asset Management's real estate equities team, reporting to its head, Thomas Körfgen. Beginning on 1 July 2007, Sunny Tsun will support the SEB funds with direct real estate investments from Singapore. Tsun comes from GIC Real Estate, Singapore's state-owned investment company. As Senior Vice President, he was responsible for the Asian investment sphere. The Asia team is expected to grow over the course of the year as it steps up its investment activities.
SEB ImmoInvest acquires class A office building in Singapore
SEB Asset Management's real estate fund management company has entered one of Asia's most promising markets with its purchase of the 35-storey Robinson 77 building in Singapore. The class A office building has 27,450 m² of rental space and 180 parking spaces, and is almost fully let. The main tenants leasing a combined 40% of the building are Rabo Bank, Michelin Asia Pacific, Royal Sun & Alliance, and Singapore Airlines Ltd.
Real estate on the rise
SEB real estate strategists see a whole host of reasons to accelerate their activities in Asia, above and beyond sustained growth rates. The growing significance of REITs and the heightened presence of foreign investors have led to significant improvements in terms of liquidity and transparency. However, high-quality properties are scarce. This generally makes it impossible to enter a market without the assistance of regional partners who can bridge cultural differences and break through language barriers. "Contact with local players and trust play a key role," explained Choy-Soon Chua, Managing Director and Asian investment expert for SEB Immobilien-Investment GmbH, SEB Asset Management AG's real estate fund company.
As is already the case on the US market, SEB works together with established companies in joint ventures on the Asian market. Pacific Star and Doran Capital have been signed on as asset managers for the key regions China and Singapore, as well as Japan and Korea. Barbara Knoflach commented: "We have already had extremely positive experiences with local partners in the US, who are able to meet market needs and serve tenants in a professional manner. In Asia, we have identified a wealth of interesting opportunities and strong partners, and are now systematically driving forward our expansion there."
For the open-ended real estate fund SEB ImmoInvest, entry into the dynamic Asian market is also an argument for diversification. "The real estate cycles in Asian cities are not correlated with those in Europe or the US," explains Choy-Soon Chua. With its acquisition of the office building in Singapore, the fund is currently invested in 13 countries.
Singapore an established market with an inviting and open climate
In addition to excellent fundamental market conditions, Singapore is experiencing rising i