Mirvac courts club fund investor

Group hopes Singapore firm Mapletree will serve as cornerstone investor of new industrial-park club fund.

Mirvac Group (MGR) is courting Singaporean giant Mapletree as the cornerstone investor for a new industrial-park club fund seeded with the Sydney headquarters of supermarket leader Woolworths and computer heavyweight IBM.

The properties in the city's northwest are worth a collective $340 million. Mirvac has previously flagged plans to launch club funds, including an industrial club fund.

The group's plan to launch an office club with some of its most valuable properties was last year thought to be the most imminent, although recently this appeared to have come off the boil, market sources said.

A Mirvac spokeswoman yesterday declined to comment on any industrial park fund plans, but said talks with parties on an office club were continuing.

The industrial-park fund would include Mirvac's $240m corporate campus at Bella Vista, 20km northwest of Sydney, which is the headquarters of Woolworths (WOW), and the $100.5m corporate complex at 55 Coonara Avenue in Pennant Hills, leased by IBM, sources said.

The number of investors in the proposed fund and their stakes were yet to be determined, they added.

Both the buildings were bought by Mirvac in 2010 as part of its $1.1 billion acquisition of the Westpac Office Trust, which also owned the $830m office building at Sydney's 275 Kent Street, currently occupied by Westpac (WBC).

Singaporean companies such as Mapletree have had a strong appetite for Australian industrial property in recent years, and sources yesterday said demand remained strong.

Mapletree has $S21.8bn ($18.5bn) worth of property under its control across Asia, including four Singapore-listed real estate investment trusts as well as five private real estate funds. The company has been in talks with Australian groups about buying industrial property for about five years. Two years ago, Mapletree submitted a conditional bid worth up to $750m for Stockland's blue-chip industrial assets, but the deal failed to proceed.

Last year, British-based Aviva Investors agreed to buy most of Mirvac Group's large industrial sites, worth $400m, to seed its first logistics trust, the Australian Logistics Fund. Mirvac had plans to launch an office club fund last year, but since then many properties mooted for the structure have been withdrawn.

TIAA-CREF is a potential investor in any office club fund that is established by the group, but it was unclear what properties would be included.

Previously, the office fund was expected to hold Mirvac's 275 Kent Street office tower in Sydney, and its 699 Bourke Street and 644 Collins Street office towers in Melbourne.

Mirvac's new developments, such as its Treasury Building Project in Perth and, in Sydney, its 8 Chifley and 200 George Street developments, had also initially been mooted, but later ruled out, according to Mirvac.

Two of the buildings already had joint owners and a joint-ownership deal was secured on 200 George Street with AMP.

Mirvac this year bought a portfolio of General Electric's Australian office properties for $584m, taking its overall allocation of office property from 60% to 70% of its portfolio.

Shares in the company yesterday closed up 1c at $1.755.

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