Irish group leads investor trickle

Posted On Thursday, 09 November 2006 02:00 Published by
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WITH growing calls for SA’s commercial property industry to start marketing the property sector so it can attract foreign investment, the first trickle of foreign capital into the market has already begun.

WITH growing calls for SA’s commercial property industry to start marketing the property sector so it can attract foreign investment, the first trickle of foreign capital into the market has already begun.

At the fourth annual property investment conference hosted recently by commercial property association Sapoa and Investment Property Databank, several speakers called for the industry to start educating foreign investors about SA’s economy and investment opportunities.

Angelique de Rauville, MD of Investec Listed Property Investments, said the commercial fixed property and listed property sectors were not benefiting from foreign direct investment.

However, this situation looks set to change. Moves are afoot from foreigners to invest.

Bridge Capital Properties’ new subsidiary, Bridge Capital Property Asset Management, is setting up a private commercial property fund, called BDO Springbok Fund, for its client, accountants BDO Simpson Xavier in Dublin. The group represents a consortium of Irish investors.

The fund plans to acquire offices, retail and industrial properties worth R850m.

Founded in 1999, Bridge Capital focuses on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, project finance and property. It is registered as a sponsor to a number of companies listed on the JSE and is also a designated adviser on AltX. Bridge Capital has appointed Ron van der Bos to head Bridge Capital Property Asset Management, which will be charged with setting up BDO Springbok Fund.

Van der Bos has resigned as a director of asset management at RMB Properties to take up the new position. He has also resigned as a director of listed property loan stock company Freestone Property Holdings.

Van der Bos will join Bridge Capital’s head of properties, Jeremy Clark, and Tobias Hegele, recruited from Munich, to package property investments for investors in Europe and elsewhere.

“The client is looking for a five- to seven-year investment horizon and wishes to take advantage of the anticipated upswing in the property market over that period,” says Van der Bos. He says BDO Springbok Fund will be a private property equity fund in the same vein as prominent private property players Zenprop and Attfund.

“The fund will be just below R1bn and we hope to be fully invested in the next 12 months.”

Van der Bos says the client does not initially want the fund to be listed on the JSE, but that it might be considered later. The fund, which will have exposure to properties in the larger metropolitan areas, will be a closed fund. “It is a fund looking for capital growth. There will be no income distribution to the client,” says Van der Bos.

He says he has no doubt that more foreign investors will choose to enter the commercial property market in this fashion.


Publisher: Business Day
Source: Nick Wilson

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