Fund manager to forge joint ventures in Japan, China, India and Korea

Morley Fund Management is making a push into the Asian property market with plans to invest $10bn (£5bn) in the next four years.

With an initial $2bn (£1bn) of equity to invest, Morley plans to replicate its strategy in the UK and continental Europe by working with property partners in Japan, China, India and South Korea to develop joint ventures.

The Asian expansion was first revealed in Property Week, with Morley kickstarting its investment drive in Korea (news, 09.03.07).

Half of the initial money will be invested in Japan, while the other half will be invested in the other three countries. Japan is increasingly attractive to property investors because of the arbitrage that

still exists there between property yields and the low cost of debt.

Morley’s first joint venture, announced this week, is a $500m (£250m) Japanese tie-up with Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corporation. Mitsubishi will find, purchase and manage the properties, while Morley will act as the investor and adviser.

Morley has already invested around $430m (£215m) in the region.

In China, it has committed $135m (£67m) to the retail-based Macquarie Wanda Fund and pledged £13m to India’s Yatra Capital, which focuses on developments in partnership with local companies.

In Japan, it has committed $103m (£51m) to the Macquarie Japan Core Plus Fund, and has a £20m stake in the Japan Residential Investment Company.

Ian Womack, managing director of property at Morley, said: ‘We have strong ambitions for property investment in the region similar to those we had in continental Europe three years ago.

‘Initially we are looking for multiple property partners across our target markets to join us to add valuable local expertise.’