Brookfield seeks to raise U$15bil for property fund

Brookfield started raising money earlier this year for the new vehicle, just months after closing its fourth fund at US$17bil (RM78.2bil). — Bloomberg

TORONTO: Brookfield Asset Management Ltd is aiming to raise US$15bil (RM69bil) for its fifth flagship real estate fund, less than its previous version, according to people familiar with the matter, as the global property market is roiled by rising borrowing costs.

Brookfield, one of the world’s largest owners of prime office properties, started raising money earlier this year for the new vehicle, just months after closing its fourth fund at US$17bil (RM78.2bil).

A spokesperson for the Toronto-based asset manager declined to comment.

Office landlords around the world are being squeezed by higher interest costs, falling property prices and low occupancy rates as employees continue working from home.

Fee-bearing capital in Brookfield Asset’s real estate business dipped to US$98bil (RM450.9bil) in March from US$103bil (RM473.9bil) at the end of last year.

Brookfield focuses on top-quality office real estate, which will produce better returns over the long run, chief executive officer Bruce Flatt told investors last month.

“We have always focused on owning premier real estate in the best locations, which is why 95% of our office portfolio is either trophy or Class A office space that continues to vastly outperform the broader market,” he said in a letter to shareholders of Brookfield Corp, Brookfield Asset’s parent company.

The group also invests in other property asset classes, including hotels, malls, logistics and housing.

Brookfield has defaulted on mortgages covering more than a dozen office buildings, mostly in Los Angeles and around Washington, DC.

Recently, it handed over receivership control of EY Plaza, a 41-floor tower in Los Angeles, where the downtown office vacancy rate has reached 30%.

Flatt told investors the problems are isolated to those assets and aren’t material to the firm’s sprawling real estate business, which includes New York’s Manhattan West and London’s Canary Wharf.

“Brookfield has always prided itself on being an extremely responsible borrower and our reputation in the capital markets sets us apart,” he said.

Brookfield has more than US$825bil (RM3.8 trillion) in assets under management, with US$270bil (RM1.2 trillion) in real estate holdings under management as of March. — Bloomberg

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