Portman Holdings Ltd., an Atlanta- based developer expanding in the Asia-Pacific region, plans to use its recently set up Hong Kong operation to tap international investors to fund property projects.
The company wants to raise funds from institutional and private investors for its projects estimated to cost $100 million to $1 billion each, Stanley Chin, managing director for Greater China for the company, said in an interview in Hong Kong yesterday. Portman doesn’t have a specific target for the amount it’s seeking to raise, he said.
Portman is betting housing demand fueled by an expanding middle class in China and India, the world’s two-fastest growing major economies, will underpin their property markets. Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. (1) and CapitaLand Ltd., Southeast Asia’s biggest developer, said in November they are planning more investments in China.
“Since 2008, it’s generally been challenging to raise funds because many investors were hurt by the global credit crisis,” said Chin, hired by Portman in December from Henderson Global Investors. “Things have eased slightly over the last 18 months. There’s a lot of liquidity in the system.”
The company and a team of international investors built the Shanghai Centre -- a three-tower development with serviced apartments, offices, a shopping mall, and a Ritz-Carlton hotel, in the city’s Jing An district, in 1990, its first project in China. It has since developed properties in Singapore and India.
Hong Kong Hub
Portman, founded almost 60 years ago by architect John Portman, in December opened its Hong Kong office, almost two decades after moving its Greater China base to Shanghai from the city. The company is not actively looking at investing in the Hong Kong property market as “there are too many big players in the city already,” said Chin.
“Hong Kong is a very convenient hub to cover southern China from a project perspective, said Chin. “We are also using it as a hub to liaise with our investors.”
Portman is looking for projects in Chinese cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Fujian and Guangzhou, even after the country’s government said earlier this year it plans to keep home purchase restrictions in 2012 to prevent the formation of an asset bubble.
The company, which has invested $6 billion in real estate projects globally, is completing two residential projects with nearly 2 million square feet in India to tap the country’s growing middle class, according to Rahul Anand, managing director for Portman in Mumbai.LinkedInGoogle +1Print