Carlyle launches new Asia fund

The Washington, DC-based private equity real estate firm is in the market with its third pan-Asian real estate vehicle, with a first close anticipated this summer.

The Carlyle Group has hit the fundraising trail with its latest opportunistic real estate vehicle, Carlyle Asia Real Estate Partners (CAREP) III. Carlyle declined to comment, but PERE understands that the firm is targeting $750 million in commitments for the fund and is expected to hold a first close this summer.

On behalf of the new fund, which launched earlier this year, Carlyle is expected to target asset-level real estate investments in office, retail and logistics and pursue a pan-Asian strategy that will be focused primarily on China, according to sources familiar with the matter. The current investment pipeline for the vehicle, however, also includes potential transactions in Singapore and Australia.

CAREP III represents a departure from Carlyle’s previous Asian real estate fund, which had a larger allocation to Japan and was more heavily focused on residential real estate investments. The firm had set out to raise $1 billion for CAREP II in 2008 but ultimately closed on $486 million in commitments. Limited partners in previous CAREP funds include the Teachers’ Retirement System of Illinois and the School Employees’ Retirement System of Ohio.

In addition to the new fund, Carlyle has been active raising capital in Asia through other vehicles. The firm formed a $500 million separate account earlier this year with the National Pension Service of Korea to make core-plus and value-added real estate investments in China. Both parties declined to comment on the mandate.

Carlyle has been investing in Asian real estate since 2001. The firm’s Asia real estate team is led by Jason Lee, a 16-year veteran of the firm, and includes 16 professionals in offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Carlyle’s new offering is the latest pan-Asian real estate vehicle to have hit the market recently. During an earnings call last month, Tony James, president of The Blackstone Group, touted the pan-Asian investment strategy of its first Asia-focused real estate fund, Blackstone Real Estate Partners Asia, as a competitive advantage. James said his firm anticipates a first closing of more than $1 billion for the fund, which is targeting $3.5 billion in commitments, this quarter. BREP Asia has a primary focus on mainland China, India, Australia and Japan.