ARA Asset Management targets trio of Asian fund launches

ARA Asset Management, the real estate fund management company part-owned by Hong Kong entrepreneur Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Holdings, is to launch three country-specific funds.

Singapore firm ARA Asset Management is adding three country-specific funds ready to pick up bargains in Asia.

Group chief executive John Lim told Reuters that the firm, which manages both real estate investment trusts and private funds, is launching three funds to take advantage of bottoming out property prices which he expected to happen in 2009.

Each fund will target a minimum of $500 million (€373.7 million) of equity apiece for vehicles focussed on China, India and Japan.

Lim said: ‘In terms of deal flow, we do see more and more opportunities coming up.’

Lim also said ARA would consider taking its listed vehicles private if their shares continue to trade poorly. ARA currently manages four Reits; Suntec Reit and Fortune Reit in Singapore, Prosperity Reit in Hong Kong and AmFIRST Reit in Malaysia.

News of the funds comes one day after ARA’s flagship ADF Dragon Fund completed the SGD340 million ($230 million; €172 million) purchase of the 51-storey, 1.17 million square foot Nanjing International Finance Center in Xinjiekou, the central business district of Nanjing. The fund, which is mandated to invest in both Asia’s primary cities and emerging markets, completed its final closing of more than $1.13bn of equity last June.

Other private real estate funds managed by ARA include the Al Islami Far Eastern Real Estate Fund and the ARA Asian Asset Income Fund.