Singapore-based Keppel Capital has formed a 50-50 joint venture with Australian Unity to deepen its presence in the Australian real estate market.

As part of the agreement, the joint venture will pay A$400,000 (€243,467) for a 100% stake in Australian Unity Investment Real Estate Limited (AUIREL), which is the responsible entity for the listed Australian Unity Office Fund (AOF).

The listed vehicle is currently under a A$485m takeover bid from Starwood Capital.

Christina Tan, Keppel Capital’s CEO, told IPE Real Assets, the ownership of AUREIL would be transferred into the new joint venture company.

“We will jointly manage the listed vehicle,” she said, adding that the partners would work on a business plan to grow the listed trust.

“Australian Unity sees us as a partner who is able to bring in institutional investors, including sovereign and global pension funds.

“We have a growing funds management business, currently with S$33bn (€22bn) under management. This is where we can help them to establish themselves as a strong fund management player.”

Peter Day, independent chairman of AUIREL, said: “Keppel Capital’s access to capital sources alongside its origination capabilities should provide further support to AOF as it seeks to grow.”

Mark Pratt, executive general manager for property at Australian Unity, said Keppel Capital was “a logical and compelling” joint-venture partner.

Keppel already has a team experienced in sourcing deals on the ground in Australia, said Tan. “The team will use its network to access assets to create a bigger and better portfolio of the listed AOF.”

Tan said Australia was a core market for Keppel Capital. “Australian real estate continues to be an attractive asset class, generating attractive income returns in a low yield environment,” she said.