Pacific Star Group, the Singapore real estate investor, has hired former Korean pension head Kim Ho-Shik to sit on its advisory board and guide the firm as it enters the Korean market. The appointment comes shortly after the firm opened an office in Seoul, which is headed by another former Korean official.
Kim was president and chief executive officer of South Korea's $230 billion (€152 billion) National Pension Service, the world's fifth-largest pension fund, until recently. In April, he and the chief information officer were asked to resign as part of changes made by South Korea's new president Lee Myung-bak. Following the parliamentary victory of the new president's Grand National Party in April, many ministerial and service sector heads were asked to resign. Korean institutional investors were not immune.
Before becoming president of the pension, Kim was minister for government policy coordination and minister of maritime affairs. He is currently an executive advisor to Korean real estate developer Shinyoung.
The hiring is part of Pacific Star's larger push into Korea. The firm recently opened an office in Seoul which is headed by another former official from the Korean government, Kim Daiyoung, former vice minister for construction. Kang Dong-suk, a former Korean minister of construction and transportation, also serves as a board director for the Seoul office.
Founded in 2000, Pacific Star has launched several real estate funds in the past two years. Last March, the firm launched the $800 million GOME Pacstar Fund with GOME Property Investments, owned by Chinese businessman Wong Kwong Yu, to invest in China. Six months later, it was followed by a €500 million vehicle with an HSH Nordbank subsidiary to acquire prime properties in the Asia Pacific region. Then in December last year it launched a $650 million Asia Real Estate Prime Development Fund, which had its first investment in Thailand. It also has a $600 million joint venture fund with Kuwait Finance House and a $500 million Vietnam joint venture fund with Israeli property holding company Alony Hetz.
The Seoul office was the second new location Pacific Star opened this year. In March, the firm opened Pacific Star Europe in Munich. At the same time, the firm launched a $2 billion Asia fund for European investors in partnership with German property entrepreneurs Matthias Sturmer and Dirk Grosse-Wordemann.
The group's other funds include the $600 million Baitak Asian Real Estate Fund – a joint venture between Pacific Star Group and Kuwait Finance House, and the €1.2 billion Asia Real Estate Income Fund. The group also launched the $2 billion Pacific Star Fund Select Concept targeting Asian real estate under an umbrella fund structure earlier this year.
CalPERS to boost emerging market presence
Investment staff at the $234.2 billion (€158.2 billion) California Public Employees' Retirement System have recommended allocating up to 20 percent of the fund's real estate pot to emerging markets over the coming decade – with China and India among the favored countries. Emerging market investments currently account for only 3.6 percent of total real estate allocations – valued at $23.6 billion – compared with 83.8 percent for developed North America, 6.8 percent for developed Europe and 5.7 percent for developed Asia. Of the investments already made in emerging markets, around a third goes to India, a fifth to Mexico and Brazil respectively and roughly 15 percent to China. The investment officials also recommended allocating up to five percent to frontier markets such as Bulgaria, Lebanon, Africa, and Vietnam.
Vinaland hires new MD
VinaLand, the Vietnam-focused property fund launched by Pacific Alliance subsidiary VinaCapital, has hired David Henry as managing director of real estate. Henry will oversee development of numerous projects for the firm, which targets residential, office, retail, industrial and leisure developments, mainly around the country's main cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The former Lend Lease employee was most recently at Australian firm Springfield Land Corporation serving as director of central business district development. The VinaLand fund was launched in March 2006 and listed on London's Alternative Investment Market in 2007. The $790 million (€536 million) vehicle is part of the VinaCapital Group, which also has a $662 million Vietnam Opportunity fund.
Khaleeji launches $430m India fund
Bahrain-based Khaleeji Commercial Bank has launched the Global Logistix Navi Mumbai Investment, a $430 million (€273 million) vehicle that will invest in a new logistics project outside Mumbai. The project is a logistics-focused real estate development comprised of an integrated logistics park on 400 acres of land in Navi Mumbai (New Mumbai), located to the south of the city. The initial development projects include the construction of warehouses, control building, maintenance depot, staff accommodation, parking areas and other amenities.
AEW raises $558m Asia fund
Boston-based AEW Capital Management has closed a vehicle focused on Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China with a total of $557.8 million (€360 million) in equity commitments. Twenty percent of the new fund, AEW Value Investors Asia, has already been invested. AEW chief executive officer Jeff Furber said it would seek to capitalize on the growing demand for institutional quality space, adding that the new fund would undertake redevelopment, repositioning, re-leasing, recapitalization and selective development, offering investors both current income and appreciation potential. AEW opened its Singapore office in 2006, at the same time adding former ING chief investment officer Peter Wittendorp and former BT Financial portfolio manager Antony Knep to the team for Asia. The firm began raising the Asia fund after it opened its Singapore office.