Hong Kong’s Link REIT has acquired stakes in three Australian inner-city retail assets from Singapore’s GIC for A$538.3m (€344.6m).

In March this year, GIC hired recruited a couple of property consultancy firms to handle the sale of is half-stakes the Queen Victoria Building, the Strand Arcade and The Galeries building.

Shopping centre owner Vicinity Centres holds the remaining 50% stake in the assets.

GIC has owned the assets for around two decades. In 2018, in a A$1.1bn shopping centre swap with Vicinity Centres, GIC acquired a half stake in the three buildings for A$556m in exchange for a 49% in Chatswood Chase in Sydney’s North for A$562.3m.

Nicholas Allen, Link REIT’s chairman, said: “Acquisition of this prime retail portfolio is part of our Vision 2025 growth strategy to diversify and improve our portfolio mix.”

George Hongchoy, Link REIT’s CEO, said given the high occupancy rate filled with leading Australian and international brands, the portfolio was well-positioned to capture the retail rebound, with improving consumption sentiment in the country.

Link REIT mandated fund manager EG Management in March this year to source assets in its drive to diversify its portfolio into new markets.

Chris Pak, EG’s new divisional director, who is responsible for the Link REIT mandate, told IPE Real Assets that the shopping centres were secured in an off-market transaction during the uncertainty of Sydney’s protracted COVID lockdown.

Roger Parker, EG Fund’s executive director, said Link REIT had made good inroads, with its offshore diversification strategy having now acquired four prime assets in Australia.

Asked if Link continued to have an appetite for more assets in Australia, Parker said: “They still have more interest in Australia. Like most offshore visitors, their focus is on the Eastern Seaboard, and they are looking for opportunities across the key main asset classes –- commercial, retail and logistics.

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