IGIS, NPS in Korea’s largest property deal for 2017 – Exclusive

IGIS Asset Management has acquired Signature Towers for $635m, completing the largest real estate deal in Korea this year.  

IGIS Asset Management, the Seoul-headquartered real estate investment manager, has acquired the Signature Tower from Shinhan BNP Paribas for $635 million, in what is being pegged as the largest real estate transaction in the country this year.

Signature Tower is a 17-story premium-class twin tower, comprising more than 1 million square feet, situated in Chegyechoen-ro which passes through the central business district (CBD) of Seoul to the east.

“With its excellent location and superior physical feature, the acquisition of a high-quality office building like Signature Tower is a great opportunity for investors pursuing core strategies,” commented Kab-Joo Cho, chief executive of IGIS. “The urban renewal projects planned for this area will greatly improve the neighborhood and Signature Tower will be one of the beneficiaries in the future.”

According to one source involved in the deal, a total of ten groups had submitted bids for the tower. Brookfield Asset Management and Blackstone had also indicated interest in purchasing the property.

The transaction is the first asset for the discretionary core fund that is managed by IGIS on behalf of domestic institutional investors such as National Pension Service (NPS) and Ministry of Employment and Labor Reserve Fund.

According to PERE’s source NPS’ commitment anchored the deal and accounts for over 30 percent of the total purchase price.

The deal officially completed last week. Property services firm Savills was the selling agent.

The Signature Towers deal is the largest hard asset office sale to have been done in Seoul in the last one decade. Last year, AIG Real Estate sold the International Finance Center (IFC) to Brookfield Asset Management for around $2.3 billion, completing the biggest single-asset deals in Asia in 2016. IFC Seoul however also had a hotel and shopping centre in addition to office space.

IGIS Asset Management is currently the largest integrated real estate investment and asset management firm in South Korea with gross assets under management of $13 billion of real estate across 105 properties globally.