GIC acquires stake in Brazil mall for $57m

Via Parque Shopping mall has 57,000 sq m of shopping area and is controlled by Aliansce Shopping Centers, Brazil's No. 2 mall operator. Other investments GIC has made in Brazil include an education company, an office building as well as the country's
Via Parque Shopping mall has 57,000 sq m of shopping area and is controlled by Aliansce Shopping Centers, Brazil's No. 2 mall operator. Other investments GIC has made in Brazil include an education company, an office building as well as the country's largest hospital chain, Rede D'Or Sao Luiz.PHOTO: GIC

Investment fund buys 35% share in shopping mall located in exclusive Rio de Janeiro area

SAO PAULO • GIC agreed on Monday to pay 132.4 million reais (S$57.32 million) for a minority stake in a shopping mall controlled by Brazil's Aliansce Shopping Centers SA, the latest step in the investment fund's push into Latin America's largest economy.

Under terms of the deal, GIC took a 35 per cent stake in Via Parque Shopping, a mall located in Rio de Janeiro's exclusive Barra da Tijuca area, a company statement said.

The mall, which has 57,000 sq m of shopping area, underwent massive renovation work between 2013 and last year, including expansion of retail space and a new movie theatre, the statement added.

"This acquisition reflects GIC's confidence in the long-term growth prospects for Brazil's retail industry as well as the allure of Via Parque Shopping as a retailing asset," the statement added.

Headquartered in Singapore, GIC is the world's sixth-biggest state fund with an estimated US$315 billion (S$427 billion) of assets under management. It has investments across 40 countries and in assets such as equities, fixed income, real estate and private equity. GIC has been investing in emerging markets for over 20 years.

It embraced Brazil as a destination for new investment, opening an office in Sao Paolo in April last year, in spite of the economy's growing imbalances and a looming recession.

The rationale behind GIC's push into Brazil stems from the emergence of a middle class in the country that is demanding more healthcare, education and technology services, Reuters reported.

This year, GIC agreed to buy a stake in Rede D'Or Sao Luiz, Brazil's largest hospital chain,with 4,500 beds across more than 27 locations. The chain's value has surged in the past five years.

It made investments worth US$518 million in the region last year, up from just two deals

worth US$135 million the year before, SWC data shows.

It acquired an 18.5 per cent stake in Brazilian education company Abril Educacao last August, as well as a US$170 million investment in online sporting goods seller Netshoes and the purchase of 5.02 per cent of communications technology provider Linx.

In December, it bought Eco Sapucai, an office building in downtown Rio de Janeiro, in its first wholly owned investment in the region.

Aliansce is Brazil's No. 2 mall operator whose core business involves investing in shopping malls and providing them with management services, their commercialisation and planning and development.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2015, with the headline 'GIC acquires stake in Brazil mall for $57m'. Print Edition | Subscribe