Singapore’s Keppel Land picks 40% in Empire City Ltd from Gaw Capital

Singapore’s Keppel Land Limited has acquired 40 per cent stake in Empire City Limited Liability Company, which is developing Vietnam’s tallest mixed-used project, from the latter’s joint venture partners for $93.9 million.

Following the transaction, Hong Kong-based real estate private equity fund Gaw Capital Partners will have 30 per cent in the venture while two Vietnamese partners Tien Phuoc Real Estate JSC and Tran Thai Real Estate Co Ltd, will jointly own 30 per cent, local media reported.

The development, which is reportedly estimated to need a total investment of $1.2 billion, is designed as a prime 14.6-hectare waterfront site in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area of Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam.

Called Empire City, it will comprise residential apartments, office and retail properties as well as an 86-storeyed integrated mixed-use tower complex.

As licensed by the local city, the tower, once completed, will become Vietnam’s tallest building, after the 68-floor Bitexco Tower in Ho Chi Minh City and 72-floor Keangnam Landmark in Hanoi, which has been taken over by Korea’s AON Holdings.

“Today, Vietnam, especially the fast-growing Ho Chi Minh City, is one of Keppel Land’s key growth markets,” said Ang Wee Gee, CEO of Keppel Land, one of the largest foreign real estate investors in the country.

Keppel Land and the two Vietnamese developers have similar partnerships for various projects in the city. Together with Tien Phuoc, Keppel Land sold out The Estella residential project and is currently developing Estella Heights, which has seen a strong offtake since its launch, with over 670 units sold to date. The three companies are also currently developing the South Rach Chiec township development, slated for launch later this year.

Gaw Capital Partners, the Hong Kong partner with over $10 billion assets under management, has gained foothold in the Vietnamese market following the purchase of Indochina Capital’s assets.

Also read: Gaw Capital buys Vietnam’s Indochina Land Holdings-2 fund at 58% discount

Keppel Land is also progressing with the Saigon Centre Phase Two development in Ho Chi Minh City, which will comprise Grade A offices, retail space and about 200 units of serviced apartments. The retail mall, slated to open in the third quarter this year, is fully committed, with Takashimaya as the anchor tenant, the company said.

The Vietnamese property market has opened up with the recent relaxation in the housing and property laws. Coupled with improvements in public infrastructure, growing middle class and urbanisation has driven the demand for quality homes and investment-grade offices.

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