German-based investment firm looks to invest more in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Union Investment Real Estate GmbH (UIRE), a German-based international investment firm is looking to invest more in Malaysian real estate in the next 2-3 years. It is looking for office type properties located in Kuala Lumpur.

"It's possible that we might look for other investments of a similar kind priced from RM200-RM400 million," said UIRE Asia Pacific managing director Ulrich Dischler.

He was speaking at the handover ceremony of its first property investment in Malaysia — an office tower in Bandar Raya Developments Bhd's (BRDB) CapSquare development in Kuala Lumpur.

UIRE purchased CapSquare Tower in 2008 for RM440 million — a sale that made waves in the local real estate market by being one of the largest sales of Malaysian commercial real estate to an international investment firm. It also marked UIRE's first foray into Malaysia.

"The price depends on market situation — every location is different, every quality is different. It depends on the right building, right location and appropriate market price," he said.

BRDB CEO Datuk Jagan Sabapathy said UIRE's investment in Kuala Lumpur's real estate market is significant as it's demonstrated confidence in Malaysia as well as in the future growth of the economy.

"Despite the banking crisis in the US and Europe in 2009 that had a significant knock on effect on global real estate, UIRE stood by and completed this purchase," he said.

CapSquare Tower is part of the overall CapSquare development which covers 15 acres of prime land and is home to Menara Multi-Purpose, two upscale residential towers, UNITAR campus and CapSquare retail.

CapSquare Tower is the second high rise commercial tower built in CapSquare. The freehold development offers 41-storey and 600,000 sq ft of net lettable space.

Meanwhile, CapSquare Retail is currently undergoing a rejuvenation exercise and would house more IT tenants such as Apple, Dell, Lenova, Samsung and Acer once it reopens in September. There will also be F&B outlets, supermarkets and cinemas.

UIRE has investments in more than 26 countries. "We have a very conservative approach as a long term investor. Other Asian countries that UIRE has penetrated into includes Singapore, South Korea and Japan.

"We're not overly aggressive… depends find right opportunity at right time, if take longer, we can wait, we can be patient," he said, adding that among other market in Asia Pacific that UIRE is eyeing to venture into includes Australia, Vietnam, China — in some point in time.

Ulrich said UIRE invests in logistic property and shopping malls as well but offices are its main priority.

Also present at the handover event was Kuala Lumpur Mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail.

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