Norway's oil fund looking at Tokyo, Singapore for property investments

FLOROE, Norway (REUTERS) - Norway's US$819 billion (S$1.1 trillion) Government Pension Fund, the world's biggest sovereign wealth fund, is looking to buy properties in Tokyo and Singapore in the coming months, a key executive said on Wednesday.

The fund, built on revenues from the country's oil and gas production, has previously bought office blocks, shopping malls and other properties in key cities in Europe and North America, and has a stated ambition of expanding its real estate portfolio to Asia.

"It's hard to say exactly when the first investment will come, but we're hoping for 2015 or early 2016," Nina Hammerstad, the fund's chief operating officer for real estate, told a business seminar in Norway.

Investing in Chinese real estate is not on the agenda for the time being, she added.

Norges Bank Investment Management, which runs the fund, earlier this year set up a Tokyo office to manage the property investment process. It also has operations in Singapore.

The fund is already a large investor in stocks and bonds globally but aims to have 5 per cent of its portfolio directly invested in real estate.