[photopress:macquarie.jpg,full,alignright]Macquarie Group, the biggest Australian securities firm, is seeking to develop real estate trusts in China. This even though financial markets are being hit by a credit crunch and China is clamping down on property speculators.
Brief history. The bank was founded in 1969 and it began its operation from Sydney in January of 1970 as Hill Samuel Australia, a subsidiary of the UK’s Hill Samuel, an entity founded by the same man as the Shell Corporation.
The bank took its name from Lachlan Macquarie, an early Governor of New South Wales who dramatically transformed the early colonial economy and put his name on almost everything within reach. He is seen in our illustration.
The company became a trading bank and changed to its present name in 1986, at which time it opened branches in Melbourne and Brisbane. The company listed on the ASX in 1996, with an initial market capitalization of $Australian 1.3 billion.
Macquarie Bank manages a number of listed investment funds. Over the past decade, the Macquarie Infrastructure Group, has become the world’s largest operator of private toll roads both nationally and internationally. Other funds managed by the bank’s subsidiaries have invested in projects such as airports, operating Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney and Bristol International Airport in the UK. It is not always popular with the public in the way that it manages these properties.
Andrew Low, head of corporate finance in Asia, said in Beijing that Macquarie is in talks with regulators and institutional investors including insurers and pension funds to help build a market in China. He said the discussions are ‘nearing fruition.’
As he did not amplify that elliptical remark you can read into it what you will.
Nicholas Moore, Macquarie’s global head of investment banking, said at a briefing, ‘There are some issues for foreign money going into Chinese real estate in this macroeconomic environment. But we remain very bullish since the property market obviously reflects China’s strong economic growth.’
Macquarie is sizing up the Chinese property market even as the government moves to curb speculation in real estate. Macquarie hopes to replicate in China its strategy in other markets, where it has bought utilities, airports and roads.
Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are trusts that own, manage, or lease commercial real estate, or invest in products related to property like mortgage-backed securities. Macquarie, in a company statement, says it led China’s first offer of commercial mortgage-backed securities.
Source: International Herald Tribune