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MGPA sells 12 floors of offices for quick profit

03 October 07 | The Business Times
by Arthur Sim

TWELVE floors in Springleaf Tower that were bought in January for $134 million have been sold again for $225 million - an increase of almost 70 per cent.

The seller is Macquarie Global Property Advisors (MGPA) which made headlines recently by submitting the top bid of $2.02 billion for a development site at Marina View.

The buyer of the SpringLeaf Tower space is SEB Asset Management (SAM), part of German pension fund manager SEB, which bought SIA Building from CLSA Capital Partners in April for more than $525 million.

SAM said in a statement yesterday the Springleaf Tower investment is its second in Asia for its new SEB Asian Property Fund, after it acquired an office tower in Shanghai's Puxi district in a 50-50 joint venture with Pacific Star at the beginning of September.

In Singapore, churn in the office sector appears to be increasing.

CLSA Capital Partners, for instance, acquired the SIA Building for $344 million in June 2006 before selling it less than a year later for 50 per cent more.

MGPA acquired Temasek Tower in March for $1.04 billion. And with capital values rising, it too could sell for a quick profit.

According to a report by CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), the average capital value of prime office space was an estimated $2,900 per square foot in Q3 2007, reflecting an increase of 16 per cent quarter on quarter and 114.8 per cent year on year.

CBRE said prime office yields were 4.32 per cent - up only slightly from 4.23 per cent in Q2 2007. But that has not stopped investors buying offices.

It said the office investment market remains active, with $3.459 billion of transactions in the third quarter. Notably, a fund linked to Goldman Sachs bought Chevron House for $366.4 million or $2,780 psf of net lettable area, setting a new benchmark that exceeded the $2,650 psf that British-based property fund Develica paid for One Finlayson Green in June.

SAM expects an internal rate of return of 9 per cent per annum on its investments.