Brookfield mulls China property deal


HONG KONG • Brookfield Asset Management Inc is planning to buy a commercial property site in Shanghai for around US$2 billion (RM8.16 billion), according to people familiar with the matter.

Brookfield Strategic Real Estate Partners III is mulling buying three office towers and a retail mall at Greenland Huangpu Centre from a unit of Greenland Hong Kong Holdings Ltd, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details aren’t public.

A transaction of that size would rank among the biggest commercial property deals in China by a foreign firm.

Singapore’s CapitaLand Ltd and GIC Pte Ltd spent 12.8 billion yuan (RM7.75 billion) in November for Shanghai’s tallest twin towers, located along the city’s North Bund.

That was Shanghai’s largest commercial property deal involving a foreign investor, according to CBRE Group Inc.

Greenland Hong Kong’s stock has been halted since Monday pending a “notifiable transaction”. A Hong Kongbased media officer for the company didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. A media representative for Brookfield Asset Management in Asia Pacific said the group was unable to immediately comment.

Separately, Brookfield is in talks with banks for a loan of as much as US$1 billion to back its planned purchase, three of the people said.

The financing would include both onshore and offshore tranches, they said.

The Canadian alternative asset manager in January announced the closing of Brookfield Strategic Real Estate Partners III, its latest flagship global private real estate fund. The foray wouldn’t be Brookfield’s first in China.

In 2013, the group agreed to invest US$500 million into Shui On Land Ltd’s Xintiandi entertainment complex unit in Shanghai. Last year, it partnered with Singapore-based warehouse operator GLP Pte Ltd to develop rooftop solar projects in the nation, and purchased two retail malls in Shanghai for US$285 million.

Commercial proper ty investments in China rose 9.5% last year to a record 296 billion yuan, with about one-third of that coming from overseas investors, Cushman & Wakefield plc data show.

And foreigners are keeping up the pace, accounting for about half of the 53 billion yuan of transactions in the first quarter, according to Sam Xie, CBRE Group Inc’s head of research in China. — Bloomberg