x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Investcorp plans US property investments

Investcorp, based in Bahrain, plans to plough up to $250 million into the US property market this year.

Investcorp, a Bahraini investment company, plans to spend up to US$250 million (Dh917.9m) in the US property market this year.

The asset management firm said improving economic conditions in the US and limited growth in supply were creating attractive opportunities.

"What we find interesting is there really is very little commercial construction in the United States right now," said Jonathan Dracos, the head of real estate for Investcorp.

"So as the demand recovers, the supply stays tight, we expect to see improvements in operating performance.

"Supply conditions are expected to be very good over the next three years."

The investment firm is focusing on retail, hotel, office, industrial space and apartments for rent.

"We are not investing in housing [for sale] in the United States," Mr Dracos said.

The company's US property investments are typically between $25m and $150m, Investcorp said.

In the past year it has invested $200m in US property.

This year it is said the plan is to spend $200m-$250m.

Areas where the company is focusing include San Francisco, Washington, greater New York and Miami.

Mr Dracos said improvements in the jobs, retail and hotel markets in the US were all positive signs.

"I think the general perception is that pricing and operations have bottomed out in the United States," he said. "It's certainly a long way from the peak levels in 2007 … but it's better today."

Investcorp also said it was close to finalising the sale of a mall as part of a mixed-use development in Seattle.

Investcorp manages funds of high-net-worth individuals and companies from the Gulf region.

It was also behind the flotations of the luxury brands Gucci and Tiffany & Co.

Investcorp this month reported a 90 per cent slump in net profit to $5.3m for the six months to the end of December, compared with $56.2m in the same period a year earlier, citing a decline in hedge-fund revenue amid the euro-zone debt crisis.

The property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalles said in a recent report that it expected an increase in commercial property investment in the US.

"Following a more challenging second half in 2011, some confidence seems to be returning to the US investment market on the back of improving economic indicators, with America's volumes projected to grow modestly by 10 to 15 per cent in 2012."

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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