BPE Asia Real Estate in first exit from debut fund

BPE Asia Real Estate, the real estate investment division of Baring Private Equity Asia, one of Asia’s largest private equity firms, has made its first exit from its debut fund.

The Hong Kong-based firm, which held a final close on $365 million for its first real estate fund in March 2015, has sold the AccraLaw office tower in Manila, Philippines for around $75 million. It is understood the sale delivers an internal rate of return of more than 30 percent for the firm, close to a two times return on invested capital.

BPE Asia Real Estate acquired the building in 2014 for approximately $50 million. The building is a 25-story office tower with gross floor area of around 323,000 square feet.

The firm brought AccraLaw to market and received 17 bids, 16 of which were from domestic sources of capital, before selling the asset to a local Philippine family. The sale transaction took place at a current cap rate of 5.31 percent.

“We are very excited to have completed the first realization for our fund and executing on the value creation strategies that we had outlined to our investors, delivering a very strong financial result,” said Mark Fogle, head of real estate at BPE Asia Real Estate.

“We believe that the Philippines will continue to provide opportunities for further investment and are currently actively evaluating several other projects in the country.”

The firm has been a strong investor in the Philippines and has invested in aggregate over $300 million in the country in a number of investments across both real estate and private equity.
BPE Asia Real Estate’s biggest outlay to date was in the country. In November last year the firm underwrote $75 million of a $150 million investment in a large office development in Clark, an emerging business district in the Philippines.

In investing in the Philippines the firm sought to capitalize on the growth of the business process outsourcing (BPO) market which has lately become something of a preferred jurisdiction by corporates looking to outsource various services on account of the country’s high fluency in English and competitive labor costs.

Manila is ranked as the second largest BPO outsourcing destination, beaten only by Bangalore, in the world having overtaken Mumbai and Delhi in recent years, according to a recent paper from outsourcing consultancy Tholons.