KKR BLK Pyeongtaek Logistics Center image

Bear Logi and KKR sold the BLK Pyeongtaek Logistics Center in early 2020

EQT Exeter continues to expand its presence in Asia Pacific with the announcement today that it has acquired a Japanese logistics investment manager for an undisclosed sum.

The property investment division of Sweden’s EQT is purchasing Tokyo-based Bear Logi, which is led by former ESR managing director Matthew Zann and ex-Macquarie executive James Muir, with the goal of creating an EQT Exeter logistics platform for Asia Pacific, the company said in a statement today.

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“We are thrilled to welcome Matthew, James and the rest of the Bear Logi team to the EQT Exeter family, as we continue to expand our logistics real estate platform in the APAC region,” said Ward Fitzgerald, partner and head of EQT Exeter. “With their complementary local market knowledge and expansive industry relationships, our combination with Bear Logi is the next step in EQT Exeter’s journey, strengthening our position as a multi-strategy, global real estate leader.”

The announcement of the Asia Pacific initiative sets EQT Exeter up to import to Asia a logistics portfolio playbook which it has used effectively in Europe and North America, just a half-year after the company established a China-focused warehouse fund.

Focus on Tier One Markets

“We are excited to join forces with Ward, EQT Exeter, and the broader EQT platform to further build out the APAC logistics platform,” said Bear Logi co-CEO Matthew Zann. “The partnership will create new growth opportunities in the region as we leverage our local insights and relationships and combine it with EQT Exeter’s global expertise within logistics real estate.”

Ward Fitzgerald of EQT Exeter

Ward Fitzgerald of EQT Exeter

The Tokyo-based Bear Logi team, which has specialised in value-add deals, will work together with EQT Exeter’s China operation, to acquire and develop logistics properties in first tier cities and logistics hubs across, Japan, Korea and China, the company said.

Operating as part of the EQT Exeter organisation gives Zann and Bear Logi’s 25-person team the opportunity to move beyond single-asset deals, which powered the company’s estimated $1 million in revenue in 2021, to operate their own fund, including managing acquisitions, development, construction and leasing.

Zann, who originally set up Bear Logi in 2009 after a more than two-year stint at Macquarie Goodman Japan, had put his startup in suspended animation from 2014 through 2019 when he served as a managing director with Redwood Group and its successor, ESR.

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In early 2020 Bear Logi enjoyed a successful exit from a Korean joint venture when it sold the 136,500 square metre (1.5 million square foot) BLK Pyeongtaek Logistics Center, a warehouse facility near Seoul that it had developed with KKR, to South Korea’s Pebblestone Asset Management for an undisclosed sum.

“The partnership with EQT Exeter not only accelerates our opportunities, but also strengthens our operating platform and ability to offer a broader set of clients access to the growing APAC logistics market,” Bear Logi co-CEO James Muir said.

Making Friends in the Neighbourhood

EQT Exeter, which was established just one year ago when Sweden’s EQT acquired Philadelphia-based Exeter Property Group for $1.9 billion, formally filed for the EQT Exeter Logistics Fund in July last year, according to a story in PERE, taking its first public step towards establishing operations in Asia.

Matthew Zann of Bear Logi

Matthew Zann of Bear Logi

Last month, EQT-backed data centre operator EdgeConneX moved into Asia’s digital infrastructure space by acquiring an unspecified minority stake in mainland data centre operator Chayora.

This week, the EQT Group, which has $81.7 billion in assets under management globally, took another move toward building its presence in the region when it named Ho Ching, former head of Temasek Holdings and wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as a member of the Mission Board for its EQT Future fund, an advisory body helping to set strategic direction for the recently created impact investment vehicle.

EQT Exeter should be well acquainted with Singaporean state-backed investors after the firm sold a total of 141 US logistics assets to Temasek-owned Mapletree in a pair of transactions totalling around $3 billion in July and September of last year.

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The company enjoyed more Singapore exposure in the closing weeks of the year when it agreed to sell a set of 328 industrial properties to the city-state’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, in November for a reported $6.8 billion. That US logistics blockbuster was followed just over a month later by the conclusion of the property fund manager’s $3.4 billion sale of a European logistics portfolio to GIC.

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