Blackstone clinches Goodman industrial portfolio in Australia

Blackstone has bought a portfolio of industrial assets in Australia for AUD640m (€431m) from Goodman.

The deal gives Blackstone a sizeable footprint in Australia’s hotly contested logistics market, sources told IPE Real Estate.

Blackstone, which last October raised US$15.8bn (€14.2bn) for its global property fund, has been actively seeking industrial assets in Australia and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region.

Media reports say Blackstone has been negotiating with the Malaysian plantation conglomerate, Sime Darby, to buy five industrial properties in Australia and three industrial buildings in Singapore.

Together, the combined portfolio would be worth around AUD550m.

Blackstone is reported to have agreed in May to buy a majority stake in the three Singapore properties for SDG300m (€201m).

It is unclear however, whether Blackstone will proceed with Sime Darby’s Australian assets, now that it has secured what industry sources describe as a “high quality” portfolio from Goodman.

Although neither Blackstone nor Goodman will comment on the deal, industry sources confirm that a deal has been agreed.

The Goodman portfolio consists of 15 assets, offering 530,000sqm of space in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

The industrial transaction is the largest completed in Australia in the past 12 months – after the AUD1.1bn sale of 26 industrial assets, jointly owned by GIC and Frasers Property Australia, to Singapore’s listed Ascendas REIT in September 2015.

Several Singapore-based logistics REITs and fund managers such as e-Shang Redwood Group have been scouting Australia for opportunities in its mature logistics sector. E-Shang Redwood is understood to have looked at the Goodman portfolio earlier this year.

Goodman has a capital recycling programme to sell assets no longer considered its most optimal performers, or those that have become obsolete in the e-commerce-driven logistics world.

Goodman has been re-zoning some older industrial sheds in inner city suburbs, especially in Sydney, for other uses, including residential apartment developments.

It has so far sold re-zoned sites worth AUD2bn

Including this Blackstone deal, asset disposals by Goodman total more than AUD4bn over the past two years.

Greg Goodman has previously said the group has a programme to sell industrial properties valued at AUD7-8bn over the next decade.

He told investors and analysts last month that proceeds from the sales had cut the group’s capital needs.

With available capital and undrawn debt facilities totalling AUD10bn, this would enable the group to reduce gearing from 17.3% at June 30, 2015 to just 10%.

In January, Blackstone paid AUD400m for the Rundle Shopping Mall in Adelaide, South Australia. In May, it acquired a number of large shopping centres jointly with the Australian-listed property group Mirvac, in a deal worth AUD613.3m.

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