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Oxford Properties Heads To Asia And Turns Lender In Europe

OMERS, the parent company of Toronto's Oxford Properties, is setting up its first ever office in Asia, with European real estate head Paul Brundage leading the push. 

The Cheesegrater Building, London

At the same time, Oxford is set to enter the U.K. and European real estate lending market as it also looks to broaden its business in the Old World.

OMERS, the US$69B pension plan for municipal workers in the province of Ontario, Canada, will open an office in Singapore in January. It will look to invest in all asset classes across Asia, including real estate.

Brundage, Oxford's senior managing director in Europe, will oversee the opening of OMERS new office. He set up Oxford’s European real estate business in 2007.

Brundage told the Financial Times that the new office would allow OMERS to diversify its holdings into regions that are faster growing compared to the U.K. and London.

“We’re not going to short U.K. plc, but we’ll probably invest less as a proportion of the business compared to a few years ago,” he said.

In real estate terms, Oxford is diversifying its European business beyond direct investment into the world of real estate lending.

It currently provides debt in the U.S. and is transporting this strategy to Europe.

“We’ve got a $2B debt book in the U.S. and we’ve looked at trying to bring that over to Europe,” Oxford European Finance Director Joanne McNamara told the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council in London, as reported by EuroProperty. “We have looked at a number of deals and, fingers crossed, will be doing something in the U.K. in the next few weeks.”

The company sold its 50% stake in the Cheesegrater to CC Land earlier this year at a price that valued the building at £1.15B.

Related Topics: Oxford Properties, CC Land