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Ascendas sets up $500m fund for Indian properties

Business park group’s first development fund will have a target asset size of $1 billion

BUSINESS park developer Ascendas yesterday launched a $500 million fund to invest in property development projects in India.

Called Ascendas India Development Trust, Ascendas’s first development fund has a target asset size of $1 billion.

This follows its $250 million equity Ascendas India IT Parks Trust, which was launched in June 2005.

The fund comes as India’s real estate sector is seeing strong demand for quality commercial space as the country develops into a global information technology outsourcing powerhouse.

Its growth will also be underpinned by India’s rapidly growing and diversifying economy.

The development fund is set to invest in development assets including land suitable for industrial, commercial, residential and retail use.

Ascendas will develop the business space within the development projects.

Fund investors will benefit from a diversified blend of returns, said Ascendas in a statement yesterday.

The fund will include International Tech Park in Pune and International Tech Park in Nagpur, which are being developed as state-promoted special economic zones.

Ascendas announced in April that it was building these two major business parks, worth a total of $570 million, in north-western Maharashtra state. Pune and Nagpur are the biggest cities in the state, after Mumbai, which is India’s financial hub.

The fund is securing more properties.

Ascendas has a 26 per cent stake in the fund. Other investors include Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank Arcapita and ING Private Banking.

Arcapita said they will look at other opportunities in India and elsewhere with Ascendas.

Ascendas yesterday also announced that it had appointed Mr Jonathan Yap as the chief executive officer (CEO) of its India funds business from June 1.

Mr Yap, who is based in Singapore, will manage all of Ascendas’ India-focused funds, including future ones in the pipeline.

He said the launch of the fund reflects Ascendas’ long-term commitment to India.

Mr Lim Sin Tiow will take over his previous position as CEO of Ascendas India.

Ascendas’ portfolio in India comprises seven IT parks spread over Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Nagpur.

The company listed Singapore’s first business space trust, Ascendas real estate investment trust, in November 2002.

Source: Business Times 14 Jun 2007

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