Blueprint: AXA Investment Managers’ staff restructuring, UBS Asset Management’s cold storage venture, GIC’s hotel splash

AXA Investment Managers - Alts appoints co-heads of real estate as part of wider reorganization, UBS Asset Management closes on $700 million for cold storage development, GIC's $2.3 billion luxury hotel platform purchase, and more in today's briefing, exclusively for our valued subscribers.

They said it

“Whether you believe in climate change or not, if the energy prices continue to rise, tenants are going to want more energy-efficient buildings”

Aleksandra Njagulj, global head of real estate ESG at DWS Group, speaking on the Propcast podcast.

What’s new?

La évolution: Isabelle Scemama’s AXA Investment Management – Alts has made sweeping changes to its asset class leadership, including promoting two new co-heads of real estate.

AXA re-org means more property promotions
For the second time in three years, AXA Investment Managers has rearranged the human capital of its Alts division, and for the second time with real estate executives promoted. Timotheé Rauly [his profile here] and John O’Driscoll [his profile here] have been elevated to global co-heads of real estate as part of AXA’s new business line organization structure. The set-up now segregates real estate from infrastructure and includes alternative credit, natural capital and impact investments departments, as well as a department called Chorus, which operates its hedge funds.

AXA formed the Alts division in March 2020, promoting Isabelle Scemama [her profile here] to lead the unit. In an announcement on this latest structure, Scemama said: “This evolution of our organization represents the logical next stage of our plans to continue accelerating the profitable growth of our business while becoming more agile and attuned to the evolving needs of our clients.”

Warmer outlook for cold storage
UBS Asset Management and PGGM are teaming up for a focused strategy: a $700 million cold storage build-to-suit platform. The Zurich-based manager makes the case that, as a major real estate and agricultural investor, it has specific knowledge of the best way to approach this investment niche with the ability to replace facilities becoming obsolete. The venture will target the development of state-of-the-art cold storage facilities across the US, focusing on major food and transportation centers in the country. In addition to obsolescence, current occupancy metrics in the sector back this thesis. Mid-year data from JLL reports an average vacancy of 3.5 percent for cold storage space, with limited new supply coming online, for example.

Attention all investors!

Are you an investor in private real estate? If so, please respond to the PERE Investor Perspectives 2023 Study. The study will be part of parent PEI Media’s largest ever annual investor survey, which has been running for more than a decade and covers institutions that allocate capital to private real estate, private equity, venture capital, infrastructure and/or private debt. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and all responses will remain anonymous, including respondents’ organizations. As a thank you for participating, respondents will receive a pre-publication copy of the report. Additionally, PEI will donate $5 to UNICEF for each response. The survey deadline is Friday, October 7, so please click on the link here and ensure that this year’s results are as comprehensive as possible.

Trending topics

Renewables push
Two of the world’s top-10 managers made big pushes into renewable power sourcing in the last week; one for its own buildings and another to service others. Following on from its partnership to provide energy back to the Japanese power grid, Hong Kong-based ESR has formed a partnership with SK Plug Hyverse, a joint venture between renewable energy firm SK E&S, US-based hydrogen fuel cell provider Plug Power, and Coupang Fulfilment Services, one of South Korea’s largest e-commerce platforms, to develop South Korea’s first hydrogen-powered fulfilment center.

Meanwhile, Starwood Energy Group, the renewable infrastructure arm of Starwood Capitallaunched Radial Power alongside energyRE, a clean energy development firm. Radial Power’s goal is to provide real estate managers with clean energy solutions ranging from solar to EV charging. Both moves highlight a continued effort of real estate firms investing in renewables, something PERE readers can look forward to reading more about in depth very soon.

Token investor
JPMorgan has joined a Series A fundraise for a tokenization platform alongside a fund willing to begin proving the concept on its own assets. The New York-headquartered investment bank is co-leading a $20 million raise with London-based manager LRC to support the platofrm, Ownera. Operating on proprietary FinP2P technology, the London-based tech platform will allow family office, high-net-worth and investment bank capital to access real estate and control asset allocations more granularly, according to a statement.

LRC are exploring the tokenization of its €6 billion in assets under management as part of the investment. Scott Lucas, head of markets DLT at JPMorgan, said the platform has “the potential to connect multiple platforms to start building towards the liquid marketplace.”

Data snapshot

APAC-ing back into hotels
Hotels in Asia-Pacific, hardest hit by covid restrictions, are showing a return to form. As international travel shows green shoots, so do investment volumes in hospitality in the region. More than $10 billion has already been invested in the sector this year and, despite some slowing in Q3 so far, a better year than 2021 and 2020 is on the cards, according to research from CBRE.

People moves

Nordic track
More than a year after opening its ninth global office in Stockholm, KKR has now named an executive to head up real estate investments in the region. Alexander Thams [his LinkedIn profile here] has been appointed as the firm’s head of Nordic real estate, having previously held the same role at Pictet Alternative Advisors for three and a half years. In a statement, Guillaume Cassou, head of European real estate at KKR, called the Nordic region “a priority growth market,” while Thams said: “We are seeing a lot of opportunity in the Nordics, where the economies are stable and showing resilience amid the changing macro environment.”

KKR is one of several multi-regional firms bullish on Nordic real estate. Schroders Capital and Macquarie Asset Management, for example, also announced hiring a head of Nordics for real estate and head of Nordic real estate transactions, respectively, over the past month.

Investor watch

Head of the pack
GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, has entered into a €2.3 billion strategic partnership with luxury hotel platform Sani/Ikos Group. The partnership effectively makes the investor the leading shareholder in the Greece-based business, putting it at the head of the pack in a platform backed by other significant real estate institutions. Since 2015, SIG has received capital from Oaktree Capital ManagementGoldman Sachs Asset ManagementHermes GPE and others to grow its asset base by a factor of four, according to a statement. The partnership values the 10-resort portfolio at €2.3 billion. Lee Kok Sun, chief investment officer at GIC, said the group’s assets are “well-located” and are testament to GIC’s confidence in the Greek and wider tourism sector over the long-term.”

This week’s investor meetings

Tuesday, September 27

Wednesday, September 28

Thursday, September 29

Friday, September 30

Today’s letter was prepared by Peter Benson with Jonathan Brasse , Evelyn LeeSamantha Rowan and Christie Ou contributing