Hong Kong-listed ESR Cayman announced via an exchange filing that it has entered into an agreement, along with sovereign wealth fund GIC, to buy an Australian property portfolio for A$3.8bn ($2.9bn) from asset manager Blackstone. Bidco, which is 80% owned by GIC (Realty) and 20% by ESR Cayman, will enter into the agreement with Blackstone funds subject to merger clearance approval in South Korea and China. The portfolio consists of 45 Australian industrial and logistics assets with an aggregate land area of 3.6mn sqm and building gross leasable area of 1.4mn sqm. The portfolio has an initial yield of 4.5% and a weighted average lease expiry of 6.9 years. ESR said that ANZ Banking Group, MUFG Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and United Overseas Bank are providing fully underwritten debt facilities for the transaction. Straits Times reported that the properties are being acquired on a 100%occupancy basis with two years of rental support provided by the property vendors for any outstanding vacancies at the time of completion. As part of the transaction, a unit of ESR will enter into an agreement to acquire the entity that provides support and trustee services to the portfolio, which is expected to “significantly increase the recurring earnings generated from the group’s Australian business”. ESR said that it will become the third largest manager of logistics real estate in Australia based on an AUM of A$7.9bn ($6.1bn).
ESR’s SGD 5.1% bonds due 2025 traded stable at 104.2 yielding 3.9% while its SGD 5.65% perp traded slightly higher to 100.18 yielding 5.6%.