Warburg Pincus to raise stake in Asian real estate fund manager ARA

(This May 26 story corrects time period in paragraph 5)

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus is raising its stake in Asian real estate fund manager ARA Asset Management Ltd (ARA) to 48.7% from 30.7%, as it seeks to capitalise on rising investor interest in property funds, both firms said in a statement.

“We look forward to leveraging our strong capital base to help the business become the largest real estate fund management platform in Asia Pacific and one of the largest globally,” said Jeffrey Perlman, head of Southeast Asia at Warburg Pincus.

ARA said gross assets managed by it and its associates had grown to S$88 billion ($62 billion) as of end-2019 from about S$35 billion in late 2016, when ARA’s co-founder John Lim teamed up with Warburg Pincus and others to take Singapore-listed ARA private, valuing it at S$1.8 billion.

The companies declined to comment on the current valuation.

ARA, which counts Lim, Li Ka-shing-backed CK Asset Holdings 1113.HK and Straits Trading Company STCM.SI as its remaining shareholders, said China's AVIC Trust is selling its stake as part of the latest transactions, expected to be completed by May 2021.

ARA manages 19 public and private real estate investment trusts and over 100 private funds. Since its delisting, it has acquired stakes in real estate platforms in Japan, Australia, Europe and the United States.

($1 = 1.4217 Singapore dollars)

Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Himani Sarkar