CapitaLand seeks Vietnam land as prices fall

CapitaLand said land prices in Vietnam and India have fallen by as much as 15 per cent this year, making it easier to get sites now than a year earlier.

There may be more opportunities in “greenfield sites”, chief investment office Kee Teck Koon said at a property conference held here yesterday. CapitaLand is also looking at expanding in Japan, where it may acquire properties and set up funds for investments, Mr Kee said.

CapitaLand, which owns properties in more than 20 countries, made about 76 per cent of revenue last year outside Singapore. It’s also expanding as the credit crunch amid writedowns by banks on sub-prime-related investments weed out smaller competitors.

“It’s a global liquidity crisis, so the chances of this continuing in perpetuity is very low,” said Mr Michael Smith, head of Asia real estate investment banking at Goldman Sachs Group. “I think one day we’ll look back at this year and say this is a real opportunity to invest in Asian real estate.”

CapitaLand said earlier this month it’s looking for distressed assets in Japan and China to help its expansion in the two markets. The developer already runs two property funds in Japan and teamed up with Mitsubishi Estate in a Tokyo project worth as much as US$1.5 billion ($2.04 billion).

There may also be opportunities to buy Japanese real estate investment trusts on the cheap, said Mr Kee as some may have difficulty refinancing short-debt term amid the credit crunch. CapitaLand may buy more land in Vietnam and India on expectations that “there’ll be easier access to choice sites”, Mr Kee said. – Bloomberg

Source : Today – 25 Jun 2008

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