ARA Asset Management unit to acquire 19.5% stake in Cromwell Property for A$405.9m

SINGAPORE - A wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based ARA Asset Management on Thursday (March 8) said it will acquire a 19.5 per cent stake in Australian real estate firm Cromwell Property Group for A$405.9 million (S$416.9 million) from South African-based real estate investment trust (Reit) Redefine Properties.

The sale will involve about 386.5 million stapled securities at A$1.05 per stapled security.

Said John Lim, ARA's group CEO: "We are attracted to the strength and depth of Cromwell's platforms, track record of value-enhancing real estate strategies and strong corporate governance. We believe Cromwell will benefit from our deep network of capital partners."

With assets of about S$40 billion, ARA manages 11 public and private Reits and nine private real estate funds in the Asia-Pacific.

The integrated real estate fund manager recently embarked on a global expansion drive with the establishment of a European platform and has also increased its presence in Australia through various investments in the last few years.

On Wednesday night, ARA proposed an issue of S$300 million, 5.65 per cent subordinated perpetual securities under a S$1.5 billion multi-currency debt issuance programme. The securities are expected to be issued on or around March 14.

Cromwell has a 35 per cent sponsor stake in Cromwell European Reit, which has been listed on the main board of the Singapore Exchange since November last year.