UK property fund looks to invest in Asia-Pacific

Aberdeen Property Investors, a unit of Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, is in talks to create a fund investing in property funds in the Asia-Pacific to capitalise on the region's long-term growth prospects.

The property arm of Aberdeen Asset would seek to raise about US$300 million ($421.5 million) and start the fund by about October, said Jon Lekander, who helps to oversee more than US$1 billion as head of indirect property at Aberdeen.

It would be the third Asia-focused fund-of-funds managed by the asset manager's indirect property investment division, he said.

"Asia will be better positioned due to the stability of the financial systems and the strength of the underlying economies," said Stockholm-based Lekander.

"We're entertaining a number of discussions with investors."

Most Asian property markets, driven by expanding populations and developing economies, have escaped the declines that characterised their Western counterparts during the global financial crisis.

The S&P Asia Pacific Property Index has almost recovered to its level before the start of the crisis.

Aberdeen invested more than half the money in its two existing property funds in developed markets, particularly Japan and Australia and, to a lesser extent, Hong Kong and Singapore, Lekander said. The rest was spread between India, China, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan.

It might employ a similar strategy with the new fund, subject to market conditions, he said.

While Aberdeen has invested only in commercial properties through its existing funds, it would also consider residential markets in countries like Japan, where investors were looking to benefit from a recovery.

- BLOOMBERG

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