Singapore’s ARA Asset Management raises stake in Australia’s Cromwell Property

Commercial buildings in the central business district are illuminated at dusk in Singapore. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

ARA Asset Management, a Warburg Pincus-backed real estate fund manager based in Singapore, has raised its stake in Australia-listed real estate investor Cromwell Property Group just days after it criticised the Australian firm for alleged poor strategic and operating performance.

In a disclosure to the Australian Securities Exchange, Cromwell confirmed that ARA increased its stake to 20.09 per cent from 19.5 per cent after buying an additional 45 million shares in Cromwell at A$1.33 per share.

ARA first became a Cromwell stakeholder in March 2018 with the purchase of a 19.5 per cent stake in the company from Redefine Properties for A$405 million ($278 million).

ARA’s move to increase its stake in Cromwell comes ahead of a crucial vote for a board position at the Australian fund manager, according to a report by the Australian Financial Review.

There has also been speculation ARA was looking to take over the Brisbane-based property fund manager. Cromwell has refuted these reports, saying ARA has not made any overtures to its board.

Listed on the ASX, Cromwell Property Group operates in three continents. It is included in the S&P/ASX 200 and had a market capitalisation of A$2 billion ($1.6 billion), a direct property investment portfolio in Australia valued at A$2.5 billion ($1.9 billion) and total assets under management of A$11.2 billion ($8.8 billion) across Australia, New Zealand and Europe, as of March 2018.

ARA Asset Management, on the other hand, manages 11 public and private real estate investment trusts and nine private real estate funds with assets totalling around S$40 billion ($30.4 billion) in the Asia Pacific.

It recently embarked on its global expansion with the establishment of a European platform and has also increased its presence in Australia through various investments in the last few years.

In the first half of this year, ARA said it had closed over $460 million worth of real estate transactions through its private fund division, ARA Private Funds.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.