LimeTree targets $500m for emerging beachfronts

The Hong Kong-based firm is midway through a fundraise for a strategy based on the growing wealth of the Pacific Rim.

LimeTree Capital Partners, a relatively new firm focused on undeveloped beachfront land in emerging Asia, is raising a fund, its second, with a target of roughly $500 million (€318 million), according to an investor source.

The firm’s debut fund closed on just over $200 million in 2006. The firm could not be reached for comment.

LimeTree, based in Hong Kong, is led by James Goulding, the former head of Deutsche Asset Management, Asia Pacific, and Robin Holdsworth, a former partner with Jones Lang LaSalle in Indonesia and Vietnam.

The firm’s strategy is to acquire undeveloped beachfront land in emerging economies like Cambodia and Indonesia. The partners predict that the rising wealth of the Pacific Rim will spell greater demand for beachfront developments as tourism and second-home purchases rise.

The source said LimeTree had already reached a second close on the fund, which is targeting $500 million (€318 million).

New York- and Chicago-based financial services firm, Guggenheim Partners, which has several asset management and capital markets divisions, is placing the fund in North America and the Middle East, the source said.

GPs are increasingly directing capital to the emerging markets of Asia, with proprietary data by PERE magazine revealing that the amount being targeted by Asia-focused funds during the first half of 2008 totaled $30.4 billion. Compared with the first six months of 2007, just $11.5 billion was being raised by funds targeting Asia – an increase of 164 percent.

China and India saw the most interest with China-focused real estate funds accounting for $5.3 billion of the 2008 first-half total, and India-focused funds constituting $9.5 billion, almost a third of the total. Funds in market with Pan-Asia strategies came out on top targeting $14.4 billion.

In June, Leopard Capital, a Hong Kong based private equity firm,  held a first close on $11 million for its targeting Cambodia private equity and real estate fund. The fund is targeting $100 million and is expected to see its final close latest by March 2009.