Cromwell Property Group is backing Oyster Property in its pursuit of a portfolio of three retail outlets in New Zealand priced at NZ$340m (€193m).

Lendlease is selling the assets – two in Auckland and one in Christchurch – which are currently held in its Lendlease Real Estate Partners New Zealand fund. The portfolio came to market in the last quarter of 2019.

When asked to comment on a possible transaction, Paul Weightman, Cromwell chief executive officer, told IPE Real Assets: “We support their (Oyster’s) initiative and we provide capital support to the company. We are closely involved with the (acquisition) process.”

Oyster is said to be facing competition from the listed Australian retail landlord, Vicinity Centres, which has teamed with a New Zealand investor.

Cromwell acquired a 50% stake in Oyster in 2018.

“We have invested into funds management opportunity rather than balance sheet opportunity,” Weightman told IPE Real Assets, adding that it had been a profitable investment for the group.

Oyster’s funds under management have more than doubled to almost NZ$1.8bn since Cromwell became an investor.

Last year, Cromwell formed a limited partnership with Oyster to acquire a 60% stake in Tauranga Cross Shopping Centre, a lifestyle centre, which came with development land.

Cromwell said at its earnings briefing yesterday that, in the last half-year, Oyster had launched an industrial trust seeded with two newly-developed properties in South Auckland’s Wiri industrial precinct.

The vehicle had its capital-raising last October and closed fully subscribed, having attracted “strong demand” from investors, Cromwell said.