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Willis Bond property fund raises $128M, lures government investments

Thursday 1st July 2010

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Willis Bond, a Wellington-based property developer, said it raised a $128 million for its private equity real estate fund that will target commercial property opportunities. 

Willis Bond Capital Partners had initially sought to raise $100 million, but closed at $128 million, helped by commitments from Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation and the Government Superannuation Fund. 

The fund aims to “capitalise on the macroeconomic market conditions which have resulted in reduced liquidity, distressed finance companies, and banks with shrinking balance sheets,” said Mark McGuinness, Willis Bond’s managing director, in a statement. “A lot of competition has been removed from the market.” 

The firm has left its mark on Wellington, developing the award-winning Chews Lane precinct and the waterfront NZX Centre, Free Ambulance Building and Shed 22. 

“The global financial crisis has produced attractive opportunities for those with capital,” McGuinness said. The fund “is one of the few places where equity is available for quality developments as the banks ration available funds." 

Willis Bond Capital Partners will consider investments including joint ventures with land and property owners including corporates, iwi and councils. 

“While the current economic climate is still fragile, history has shown that funds established in down-times, and ones that buy in such times, tend to outperform those formed in boom years that pay top prices for their investments,” he said.

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