TOKYO Aug 20 Japan's market for investment in
logistics real estate -- such as warehouses, distribution centres
and ports -- is seen growing threefold within a few years as more
players enter a sector considered stable even in an economic
slowdown, an executive of LaSalle Investment Management said.
The real estate securitisation investment market was about
320 billion yen ($2.91 billion) in 2007, accounting for only 3.8
percent of Japan's total REIT (real estate investment trust)
But LaSalle, which manages $54 billion assets in global real
estate markets, sees such logistics-area investment accounting
for more than 10 percent of total J-REIT investment in the near
future, executive officer Yosuke Yoshikawa told a Tokyo seminar.
"Logistics property investment is still immature here for
reasons such as a dearth of investment opportunities and limited
information disclosure ... maybe that's why only one J-REIT is
solely focusing on the logistics field," Yoshikawa said.
"But considering its big and established presence in Europe,
especially in Britain, and the relative strength of the economic
slowdown, logistics real estate investment has a big growth
potential," he said.
After raising 360 billion yen, the Tokyo-based investor
launched "LaSalle Japan Logistics Fund Two" last year.
LaSalle still has some 280 billion yen left to invest until
2010 after spending 80 billion yen since the fund's launch, an
another executive told Reuters after the seminar.
A planned investment would include development of
multi-purpose logistics centres and "off-balance-sheet" support
for logistics companies.
LaSalle is a unit of Chicago-based property services company
Jones Lang LaSalle Group (JLL.N), which manages property
investments of institutional investors such as pension funds and
Tokyo-based LaSalle bought out an asset management company in
2007 and injected fresh capital into a REIT that has since been
renamed LaSalle Japan REIT Inc 8974.T.
LaSalle Japan REIT closed down 12.3 percent at 191,200 yen on
Wednesday, while the Tokyo Stock Exchange's REIT index .TREIT
shed 0.3 percent to 1,269.54.
(Reporting by Mariko Katsumura)