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Dubai’s Istithmar not Looking for London Buys | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The property arm of Dubai state investor Istithmar is not looking at buy more assets in London and wants to reduce its holdings in New York in favor of more assets in other major U.S. cities, its head said on Wednesday.

“We’ve experienced very good performance in our London assets for a couple years and we’re not actively seeking to put more money into London. We are quite happy with what we have,” Richard Johnson, managing director of Istithmar Real Estate, said at the Reuters Real Estate Summit in Singapore.

Istithmar’s property portfolio in London, which includes two business parks and West End office buildings the Adelphi and Grand Buildings on Trafalgar Square, represents about one-eighth of a global portfolio valued at over $8 billion.

On Monday, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. (GIC) told Reuters that it would be “extremely careful” in the London office market where prices have soared.

Johnson said Istithmar was not looking to reduce its roughly $3 billion worth of property assets in the United States but was seeking to diversify out of New York, where it owns the W and Mandarin Oriental hotels.

“There are very exciting opportunities in other major cities in the U.S.,” he said.

Johnson said he saw the greatest growth potential in Asia, where it owns a 25-percent stake in Thai developer Raimon Land and a 9.6-percent stake in hotels-based CDL Hospitality Trusts, controlled by Singapore developer City Developments Ltd..

“We have big plans for Asia. We are very keen on Vietnam. We’re selectively looking at Malaysia and possibly in Bali,” Johnson said, adding that Istithmar was also looking to buy office property in China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

Johnson said the private equity investor was also in talks to acquire another one to two hotels in Thailand.

Earlier on Wednesday, Istithmar said it would take an 80 percent stake in a $130 million hotel project in Bangkok to be developed by Thai property firm Golden Land PCL .

On Tuesday, Istithmar said it would form a $50 million property fund with a unit of City Developments to develop about 30 budget hotels in Southeast Asia.