ESR Cayman Ltd, a Warburg Pincus-backed global logistics real estate platform, has launched a new Australian develop-to-hold logistics fund, which has a target fund size of A$1 billion ($695 million), with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC committing A$400 million ($278 million) as a cornerstone investor.
ESR Australia Development Partnership (EADP) will focus on strategically located sites that benefit from infrastructure or proposed infrastructure upgrades in the eastern seaboard cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane in Australia, according to the announcement.
The fund will be seeded with two land parcels within the Sydney metropolitan area contracted over the past 12 months as part of ESR Australia’s land bank strategy. The plan is to develop the seed land parcels into premium logistics assets, ESR said.
The launch of EADP comes as the appetite for high-quality logistics assets in Australia continues to rise even with the global coronavirus pandemic. In fact, ESR said the logistics property sector is expected to benefit from recent developments as consumers opt for online shopping, further propelling the growth of e-commerce.
“We continue to see increasing appetite from our capital partners for logistics assets as the asset class looks to benefit from the growth in adoption of online shopping, a trend which we believe will accelerate,” ESR Australia CEO Phil Pearce said.
The firm said the latest fund and the recently established ESR Australia Logistics Partnership provide ESR Australia to give it the capacity to acquire and develop over A$3.5 billion ($2.4 billion) of logistics assets.
“EADP will benefit from gaining access to key development assets and a strong pipeline of opportunities sourced by our team,” Pearce added.
A key asset in the pipeline is ESR Kemps Creek Industrial Park, a 30-hectare site acquired last year, which is part of the recently rezoned Mamre Road Precinct.
The company has made substantial inroads into the Australian market in the last 12 months, the firm said. Apart from attracting significant capital via equity raisings, ESR Australia has also executed sales of non-core assets and recycled capital into strategic land banks to bolster its considerable development pipeline.
Hong Kong-listed ESR, formed in January 2016 by a merger between Shanghai-based warehousing service e-Shang and Singaporean logistics real estate investment firm The Redwood Group, is also ramping up efforts to focus firepower on the region.
Apart from investing the lion share of the capital into its six key markets, the company plans to continue to evaluate new markets with a focus on Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.