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Weekly investor roundup: Blackstone buys GIC's Australian logistics trust stake for $1.5bn; Korea's NPS wins bid for UBS London HQ

Blackstone to acquire GIC’s 49% stake in Dexus Australian Logistics Trust for $1.5 billion; Korea's National Pension Service, working with LaSalle, was the winning bidder for UBS Group AG's London headquarters; Canada's CDPQ to buy minority stake in Hong Kong-based supply chain compliance provider QIMA for $250 million; Softbank's SPAC to merge with Symbotic, an AI supply chain startup; and more.
Weekly investor roundup: Blackstone buys GIC's Australian logistics trust stake for $1.5bn; Korea's NPS wins bid for UBS London HQ

TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK

Blackstone is acquiring Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC’s 49% stake in Dexus Australian Logistics Trust for $1.5 billion, betting on the rising demand for e-commerce in the country.

With the acquisition of GIC’s stake in the Australian logistics trust, Blackstone will add 77 premium-grade logistics assets located in Sydney and Melbourne into its portfolio.

The deal adds to the private equity firm’s investments into warehousing globally after it acquired a portfolio of properties in Europe and the US from Cabot Properties for $2.8 billion last month.

Source: Bloomberg

UBS Group AG’s London headquarters will be bought by Korea’s National Pension Service and LaSalle Investment Management for about 1.25 billion pounds ($1.7 billion).

The silver building’s current owners Hong Kong-based CK Asset Holdings started initial discussions with a handful of potential buyers earlier this year. NPS, working with LaSalle, was the winning bidder for the site at 5 Broadgate, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deal is private.

Source: Bloomberg

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) has agreed to buy a minority stake in Hong Kong-based supply chain compliance provider QIMA for $250 million.

The Canadian pension fund will acquire the stake in the supply chain monitoring firm from Asia-focused private equity firm Navis Capital Partners.

QIMA is majority owned by its chief executive, Sebastien Breteau and provides audit programs and factory inspections for supply chains. The firm also provides laboratory testing, quality assurance certifications and supplier audits mainly for products like garments, processed foods and fresh produce.

Source: Bloomberg

Symbotic, an artificial intelligence-based supply chain technology startup, will be listed in the US through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by Masayoshi Son's Softbank.

The deal is reportedly valued at $5.5 billion.

Source: Reuters

 

MORE INVESTMENT NEWS:

AUSTRALIA

APG Asset Management, the largest pension provider in the Netherlands, has acquired a 16.8% stake in Ausgrid, the largest electricity distribution network operator in the Australian National Electricity Market, from AustralianSuper.

After the sale, AustralianSuper will retain an 8.4% direct interest in Ausgrid, as well as an undisclosed amount of indirect investment through the IFM Australia infrastructure fund.

Over the past 12 months, AustralianSuper has directly invested over A$5 billion in Australian and global infrastructure assets, including interests in Transurban Chesapeake in the US, Peel Ports in the UK, WestConnex, and Australia Towers Network and Peel Ports (UK).

Source: AustralianSuper, Reuters

QIC and Sunsuper have entered into an agreement to acquire Evolution, one of New Zealand’s leading private hospital platforms.

The acquisition follows the firm’s investment into Nexus Hospitals in 2019, and it plans to leverage its Australian healthcare sector experience to maintain Evolution’s quality of healthcare in the country, while tapping expansion opportunities, particularly in elective surgery.

QIC did not specify the value of the agreement but has committed over A$4 billion globally in 2021 in key thematics relating to decarbonisation, decentralisation and healthcare.

Source: QIC

HONG KONG

Chinese artificial intelligence start-up SenseTime Group postponed its $767 million Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) on Monday after being placed on a US investment blacklist.

SenseTime said it remained committed to completing the offering and would publish a supplemental prospectus and an updated listing timetable.

Reuters first reported earlier on Monday the company’s plan to withdraw the offering and update its prospectus to include the potential impact of the US investment ban, with the aim of relaunching the IPO process.

Source: CNBC

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is set to implement new rules designed to make the execution venue more attractive to overseas issuers.

The amendments, which are due to take effect on January 1, 2022, relate to both dual-primary and secondary listing requirements, bringing them in line with the requirements faced by issuers on other exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange.

This means that issuers will be to adopt one common set of standards for shareholder protection, a benefit that is aimed at issuers in Greater China especially. Such issuers, as of 2022, will be able to apply for a dual primary listing in Hong Kong instead of a secondary listing.

It has also been reported that HKEX is set to open an office in New York to help market its US offerings. According to Bloomberg, the “modest office opening” will involve a staff of five and would be the first office in the US, adding to operations in Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and London.

Source: HKEX; Funds Global Asia, Bloomberg

JAPAN

The Japanese government plans to raise employment insurance premiums in fiscal 2022, which starts in April, and is holding discussions to decide the size of the increase.

The employment insurance system is running low on its financial resources after a surge in employment adjustment subsidy payments to companies to cover some leave allowances during the pandemic.

The premium rate for the current fiscal year is set at 0.3% of overall wages for employees and 0.6% for employers. They were reduced from 0.6% and 0.95% respectively when the system had more than enough reserve funds.

Source: Nippon.com

The insurance market in Japan is estimated to grow by $42.62 billion from 2021 to 2026. However, the growth momentum is likely to decelerate at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.42%.

The growth will be driven by factors such as the growing ageing population in Japan, fear of natural disasters, and the focus on short-term insurance.

Source: Technavio

KOREA

BNY Mellon, one of the oldest US banks, plans to downsize its Korea operations and withdraw its financial investment business, sources said Sunday. It is one of many foreign financial institutions that have lost interest in Asia’s fourth-largest economy in recent years.

According to industry sources, Korea’s policymaking Financial Services Commission recently approved BNY Mellon Seoul branch’s request to pull the plug on its financial investment business and trust services.

The latest decision comes just years after BNY Mellon made a rare move in 2019 to open a Jeonju office to deepen its partnership with National Pension Service (NPS) as its global custodian for fixed income mandates.

BNY Mellon has denied the report, and said that it is only exiting the corporate trust business in Korea, and remains committed to and is expanding other financial services such as asset management. The bank also said its Seoul and Jeonju offices will remain in operation and continue to provide services to NPS and other clients.

Source: The Korea Herald; BNY Mellon 

Korea's working population will more than halve over the next 50 years, vastly increasing the burden of supporting pension recipients in its fast-ageing society, statistics agency data released on Dec 9 showed.

According to forecasts by Statistics Korea, the number of people aged between 15 and 64 could be slashed to 17.37 million by 2070, or 46.5% of the current 37.38 million. Accordingly, the total population will shrink to 37 million, down over 14 million from the current 51.8 million.

Source: The Korea Times

Korea Post has selected Samsung SRA Asset Management to manage a 200 billion won ($170 million) US real estate debt strategy fund mandate for its insurance unit under a three-year term.

They will sign the official outsourcing contract after an on-site inspection, Korea Post said in a statement on Dec 8. The debt fund will primarily focus on senior and mid-tier loans in the US commercial property sector, with a minimum target rate of return of 5%. The fund’s investment period is ten years.

Source: Asia Asset Management

SINGAPORE

Ho Ching, the former chief executive of Temasek Holdings, was the only Singaporean named in Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women list this year.

She came in at number 33, three spots below her ranking last year. Before her retirement in October, she led the state investment firm for 17 years. She will take up the role of Temasek Trust chair from April next year.

Ho is also married to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Temasek took part in The EVERY Co’s oversubscribed $175 million Series C funding round alongside investors such as McWin, Rage Capital, Wheatsheaf Group and TO Ventures.

The company, previously known as Clara Foods, creates animal-free proteins such as eggs. It signed a deal in April to produce its innovations at scale.

The start-up’s total funding now stands at $233 million.

Source: TechCrunch

TAIWAN

As Citibank sells off its consumer banking business in several Asian countries, Taiwan’s Fubon Financial has emerged as the frontrunner to take over the assets in China, Bloomberg News reported on December 7.

The American financial company announced earlier this year it was considering divesting several consumer retail banking units in a range of countries in order to focus on more profitable businesses, such as investment banking.

According to the report, Citibank had selected Fubon as its “preferred bidder” for the assets in China, with a deal likely to bring in between $100 million (NT$2.77 billion) and $200 million.

Source: Bloomberg

INTERNATIONAL

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s board of trustees removed executive director Angela Rodell on December 9, despite the fund’s record-breaking performance throughout 2021.

Voting at the end of a regular quarterly meeting, the board was 5-1 in favour of Rodell’s immediate removal. The move has stunned state legislators as the fund — which provides most of the revenue for Alaska’s services — saw its assets grow from $51 billion to more than $83 billion during Rodell’s six-year tenure.

According to the fund’s annual report, the fund’s global equities portfolio — which includes a 12% allocation to Asia ex-Japan equities — gained 44.6%, outperforming the MSC ACWI IMI benchmark. The fund’s board of trustees has so far offered no explanation for the decision.

Source: Anchorage Daily News

This article has been updated to include BNY Mellon's response to the Korea Herald report. 

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