SINGAPORE, March 17 U.S fund manager Franklin
Resources (BEN.N) said on Tuesday it had raised a $383 million
Asian real estate private equity fund to invest in cheap and
distressed assets in the region.
The global market turmoil and reduced access to financing
have created unique investment opportunities in both the
developed and emerging Asian property market, the fund manager,
which operates as Franklin Templeton, said in a statement.
Commercial property prices in financial centres Singapore
and Hong Kong are tipped to fall 50-60 percent over the next
couple of years as banks and fund management firms slash jobs
and rent less space, analyst say.
As banks cut their exposure to property, landlords in
Japan, China, India, Australia and other countries could be
forced into firesales if they fail to refinance loans, putting
more properties on the market and driving values down further.
"We believe that 2009 and 2010 should provide excellent
opportunities for real estate investing in Asia," Glenn Uren,
the fund's portfolio manager said. "Savvy investors are
cautiously exploring the region looking for undervalued and
Franklin Templeton, which has been investing in Asian real
estate for the past 12 years, also transferred two senior staff
members to Singapore and Hong Kong to focus on real estate.
Wenning Jung, vice president, relocated to Singapore office
from California and Donna Ming-Yuan Lee, research analyst
relocated to the Hong Kong office from New York, the statement
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Lincoln Feast)