JPMorgan closes $600m China fund

The fund, targeting real estate developments in Greater China, is the firm's second Asia-focused vehicle.

JPMorgan Asset Management (JPMAM) has closed its JPMorgan Greater China Property Fund with more than $600 million (€384 million) in capital commitments. The fund was raised from institutional and highnet-worth investors in the US, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

The vehicle will focus on property investments in Greater China – China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – capitalizing on the region's continued economic growth and rising incomes along with joint venture opportunities with local developers.

Greater China is one of the “most dynamic and exciting economic regions,” Joe Azelby, global head for JPMAM's real estate and infrastructure unit, said. Real estate developers and operators in China are looking for joint venture partnerships to sustain their growth, he added.

The fund is targeting the development of new properties investing across property sectors including the office, residential, retail and hospitality sectors. It will be led by a team of 18 investment professionals, based in Hong Kong, headed by David Chen, chief investment officer and head of JPMAM Real Estate in Asia and Douglas Sung, head of portfolio management for JPMAM Real Estate in Asia.

The vehicle has already closed on three investments including an office and retail development in central Shanghai, a residential development in Wuxi and a “convertible debt opportunity” with a residential developer in Southern China. The fund also has a “robust investment pipeline” with other joint venture projects “under final considerations,” according to Chen.

JPMorgan Greater China Property Fund is the firm's second Asia-focused private equity real estate fund. In 2006, the firm closed on its India Property Fund with more than $360 million in capital. That fund was one of the first in India from a Western firm on a private equity model.

While JPMorgan won't be the only big name firm investing heavily in China, it does join only a select few who have raised dedicated China vehicles. Although many other firms such as The Blackstone Group and CBRE have started investing in mainland China, they have done so through global or pan-Asian vehicles. Other dedicated China property funds include Tishman Speyer's $500 million GSC China Fund and Pacific Alliance's $400 million China Land Fund.

Temasek invests Asia fund
Mapletree, a real estate investment unit of Singapore state-owned investor Temasek, has made a third investment in China from its target $1.5 billion (€955 million) Mapletree India-China Fund, which held its first close earlier this month. Mapletree has partnered with a Chinese company to jointly develop a property worth $320 million in China's Guangdong district. The Mapletree India-China Fund has taken an 80 percent stake in the project and Guangzhou Southern-Donald Scientific Technology Company will own the rest. The firm is still fundraising but reports suggest the fund could close as high as $2 billion. Construction on the 82-acre project is expected to start in the first quarter of 2009, with completion set for 2012. The development will hold seven high-end serviced apartment blocks and a retail mall, according to Mapletree.

DIC plans asset increase to $25bn
Dubai International Capital, the $13 billion (€8.4 billion) Dubai state-owned investment agency, plans to double its assets under management over the next two years to $25 billion, according to Reuters. The firm, which is owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has recently been a high-profile potential bidder for the British soccer club, Liverpool FC. Over the past year it invested $4 billion in three European companies. In April the company said it would be shifting its focus away from Europe and North America and toward emerging markets such as China and India, anticipating that such markets would make up 30 percent of their investment portfolio.

Dubai RE finance provider launches new fund
Tamweel, the largest provider of real estate finance in the United Arab Emirates, has launched a AED400 million ($109 million; €70 million) real estate fund. Tamweel Properties and Investments will be a fully-owned subsidiary that will focus on real estate investment and also offer brokerage services. Abdulla Nasser Abdulla, the current chief commercial officer of Tamweel, has been appointed chief executive officer of the new company. He will also continue to serve in his role at the main company. Before joining Tamweel, Abdulla was with Dubai-based Emirates Airline, where he served as vice president for commercial sales. Tamweel has made investments for the acquisition and refinance of land in the UAE in the past. In 2007 the firm signed an agreement with Bonyan and Sama Dubai for the purchase of AED1.93 billion worth of land in the Al Jadaf area of Dubai. At the time, this acquisition, of a total 135 plots, was the largest in the history of the Dubai Land Department.

Bahrain bank raises $163.5m for India
Bahrain's Khaleeji Commercial Bank has raised $164 million (€105.6 million) for a real estate investment company focused on India. The fund, Danat India Investment Company, will invest in a middle-income residential development project near New Delhi. The firm declined to disclose further details. Khaleeji chief executive officer Ebrahim H Ebrahim said that the fund will have a target return of 83 percent over a three-year period. The fund will specifically target opportunities generated by India's burgeoning middle class. Investors from the fund come from the GCC states.