Philippine conglomerates eye European real estate market

Philippines — Philippine conglomerates are turning to overseas property markets, particularly in Europe to diversify their assets.

ING Bank Manila country manager Consuelo D. Garcia said Europe, particularly Spain, which has close historic ties with the country, makes for a good destination for Asian investors because of its good valuation, transparency, ease of doing business, specialized high-tech sector, among other factors.

Garcia pointed to the very close and seamless collaboration among ING Bank Manila, ING REF Asia Pacific and ING REF Spain, and its syndications team in the successful closing of the Torre Espacio deal within a very tight timeframe. “Apart from its European and global expertise, ING has always had a strong underwriting capacity for sizable, complex transactions such as this one,” she said.

ING Bank boasts of a global network across 40 countries in Asia, Europe, US and Latin America.Torre Espacio is a 224-meter, 56-story tower that is considered one of the most iconic skyscrapers in Madrid. In November last year, the family of tycoon Andrew L. Tan acquired the Madrid property from Spain’s Grupo Villar Mir of international construction group OHL.  ING Bank was the sole underwriter and mandated lead arranger for the 280 million euro, seven-year loan to finance half of the acquisition price.

Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1ING Real Estate Finance (REF) Asia-Pacific head Robert Scholten considers deals, such as the Torre Espacio acquisition, a foretelling of deals to come.

Demand for European commercial real estate from Asian investors, including those from the Philippines, will grow in part due to their need for diversification of asset under management, the increase in buying opportunities and the attraction posed by lower interest rates and the euro/dollar exchange rate.

“It is likely that the outbound investment trend from Asia into Europe and also into other continents, including the Americas and Australia, for core quality real estate assets will continue to increase over the coming years,” he said. Scholten pointed to the growing number of sovereign wealth funds, life insurance companies, asset management funds, and family offices from essentially every country across Asia as some of the parties investing in Europe. “Well-informed real estate investors are becoming increasingly aware that some of the overseas markets could offer interesting value propositions,” he said.

ING REF is well-positioned to cater to the influx of cross-border investments with its leadership position in real estate finance. The financial institution has over 220 dedicated real estate financing experts in eight of the most liquid markets in Europe, teams in New York, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.