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AMP Capital sells stake in AIMS AMP Capital Industrial REIT - The Australian

Fund manager AMP Capital has flagged it will exit one of its key international property holdings by selling its stake in the Singapore-listed AIMS AMP Capital Industrial REIT, which owns a $US1.5 billion portfolio, and its interest in the management company.

The group will sell both the shares and stake in the manager to Sydney-based AIMS Financial Service Group, which separately runs an Australian trust that is under threat of being wound up.

AMP Capital will sell both its 50 per cent interests in the management entity and its 10.26 per cent stake in the Singapore trust. The move comes after AMP Capital said in March it was reviewing its holdings in the vehicle.

AIMS Financial will go from owning 50 per cent of the manager to full control and will rise to have a 17.88 per cent stake in the Singapore trust, adding to its separate holdings locally and in China and Hong Kong.

The group is also active in mortgage lending, securitisation, investment banking, funds management, property investment, private equity, venture capital, stock broking and high tech investment. AIMS is also a backer of the Sydney Stock Exchange.

AIMS Financial chairman, George Wang, who also heads the Singapore REIT manager, said the partnership with AMP Capital over the last nine years had been successful.

“We now look forward to this next chapter in the evolution of AA REIT,” he said. “Our footprint across Asia Pacific and extensive track record in managing real estate investments strongly positions AIMS Financial Group to ensure AA REIT continues to deliver.”

In July 2009, AIMS Financial acquired fund manager MacarthurCook, the parent company of MacarthurCook Industrial REIT, predecessor of AA REIT, giving it control of the Singapore trust.

The fund has been hit hard in the GFC and its market capitalisation had sunk to about $S60m with assets under management at about $S544m.

AIMS Financial led a recapitalisation and also bought four properties from AMP Capital, which later entered a management joint venture to co-run the vehicle.

Since then, AA REIT has steadily grown its AUM to close to $S1.5bn via acquisitions, overhauling its assets and development projects.

It now owns 26 properties in Singapore and Australia, including a 49 per cent interest the Optus Centre in Sydney’s Macquarie Park.