Azeri state oil fund acquires office block in S.Korea for $447 mln

BAKU, April 1 Tue Apr 1, 2014 1:22pm EDT

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BAKU, April 1 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan's state oil fund has acquired an office complex in the South Korean capital Seoul for $447 million, the fund said on Tuesday, as it further diversifies a broad portfolio of foreign assets.

Increasingly wealthy Azerbaijan's $34 billion fund holds the proceeds from oil contracts, oil and gas sales, transit fees and other revenues, and uses the returns on its investments to help pay for social spending and infrastructure projects.

The 65,000 square-metre Pine Avenue Tower A, in Seoul is the fund's first acquisition in the Asia Pacific region.

"This is a large transaction and shows our belief in the continued strength of major Asian real estate markets which have shown stable returns historically," Shahmar Movsumov, the fund's executive director, said in a statement.

"We will continue to look for similar investment opportunities in Asia Pacific region."

The fund spent $600 million on real estate in Europe in 2012, buying office blocks in central London and Paris and a shopping complex in Moscow.

It also invested $600 million in shares of major foreign companies in the MSCI World Index in 2012 and started to invest in funds run by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The fund, which expects revenue of 11.6 billion manats ($14.5 billion) this year, plans to spend about $1 billion on real estate abroad, mainly in Asia and Australia, the fund's deputy CEO told Reuters in an interview in February. ($1=0.8 manats) (Reporting by Margarita Antidze and Nailia Bagirova; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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