European property giant opens for business in Japan and Asia

Article date: 26 April 2007

  • Morley aims to grow Asian property business to US$10 billion (¥1 trillion) in the next four years, US$5 billion (¥500 billion) to be invested in Japan

Morley, one of Europe's largest active fund managers and the world's largest manager of European property assets1 today revealed its plans to expand its property investments across Japan and Asia. Morley is the largest fund management business of Aviva plc, the world's fifth largest insurance company.

With an initial US$2 billion of equity to invest, Morley plans to work with multiple property partners in Japan, China, South Korea and India to develop joint ventures and property partnerships in the same way it has done across Europe. Morley announced the first of these joint ventures in Japan today with Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation (MUTB) and hopes to develop more in Japan and Asia.

Morley has allocated 50% of the US$2 billion to invest in Japanese property with the remaining 50% spread across other target markets in the region. $500 million equity has been allocated to the MUTB joint venture.

Morley has already made several property investments in the region (totaling around US$430 million in Japan, China, India and South Korea respectively) and has a number of potential joint ventures and partnerships in the pipeline that will be announced soon.

Ian Womack, Managing Director, Property at Morley said:
"We have been researching the region extensively for sometime and believe that now is the right time for us to invest on behalf of our clients. We have found a number of opportunities and potential partners in our chosen markets. This underpins our confidence that our expansion in Asia and Japan will provide further important global diversification for our rapidly growing property business.

"We have strong ambitions for property investment in the region similar to those we had in continental Europe three years ago. With US$2 billion in equity to invest we have an enjoyable challenge ahead of us to find compelling investment opportunities.

"Initially we are looking for multiple property partners across our target markets to join us to add valuable local expertise. After establishing strong partnerships in the region, we will then look to launch funds that we can market to European and Asian institutions.

"We are delighted that MUTB, one of Japan's leading real estate companies, is Morley's first property partner in Japan as we enter this important market. We believe that it is the right time to be investing in Japanese property for our clients and we are looking for compelling investment opportunities across Japan in multiple property sectors.

Morley's property investment business has grown from strength to strength over recent years with in excess of £30 billion invested in property assets in the United Kingdom and across Europe today as well as investments in property securities around the world. By comparison in 2000 Morley had just £8 billion of funds under management invested solely in the UK.

Morley has established a presence in Singapore where Asian Fund Manager Andrew Peacock and Asian Property Analyst Guy Cawthra are based. Morley is also recruiting for a new senior role - Head of Asian Property - and will be adding to the team based in Asia as the business continues to grow.

-ends-

1 As of September 2006.  Source: The Banker/Property Funds Research Global Manager survey

For more information please contact:
Strahan Wallis, Corporate Communications Manager
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7809 8618
Morley

Notes to Editors
Morley
Morley is the UK-based asset management business of Aviva plc.  Firms within the Morley group of companies manage £165bn (€246bn) from offices around the world as at 28 February 2007. 

Morley manages both institutional and retail funds. It also acts as investment manager for a range of retail investment funds, marketed in the UK under the Norwich Union brand and in Europe under the Morley brand.

The property team manages in excess of £29bn (€44bn) of UK and European property assets.

Awards

  • Equity End User of the Year - Derivatives Week DEAL Awards 2006
  • Property Fund Manager of the Year, Pensions Management Awards 2006
  • Property Fund Manager of the Year, Property Week Awards 2006
  • SRI Provider of the Year, Global Pensions 2006
  • Central European Property Awards 2005 - Outstanding Company of the Year & Investor of the Year
  • UK Pensions Awards 2005 - Property Manager of the Year
  • Property Week Awards 2004 - Best Property Fund Manager

Further information about Morley can be found at http://www.morleyproperty.com

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