NEWS

Canada Pension Plan buys stake in property in Seoul's Gangnam district

09/05/2013 12:39 EDT | Updated 11/05/2013 05:12 EST
Canadian fans of the viral hit Gangnam Style will no doubt be thrilled to hear that their national pension fund has acquired a stake in an office tower to be built in the wealthy business district mocked in the song by South Korean performer Psy.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has purchased a 50 per cent stake in Samsung SRA Private Real Estate Investment Trust No. 4, a single-asset fund that owns an office development in Jamsil, an area within the Gangnam business district in the South Korean capital Seoul.

The affluent area and the posh people who frequent it were the focus of Psy's massive hit song and accompanying bowlegged dance in 2012.

Once it is complete in May 2014, the Gangnam property will be the site of Samsung's new headquarters. It is the CPPIB's first real estate investment in South Korea.

Real estate makes up 10.8 per cent of CPPIB's asset mix and includes everything from the Royal Bank Plaza in Toronto to the Botafogo Praia shopping centre in Rio de Janiero.

"We see this investment as an attractive entry point into the Korean market," said Graeme Eadie, senior vice-president and head of real estate investments for the CPPIB, in a press release. "As Asia’s fourth-largest economy, South Korea is a key market with stable long-term growth prospects."

CPPIB is the agency responsible for investing pension fund assets on behalf of 18 million contributors and beneficiaries.

As of March 2013, it had $116.1 billion in foreign assets, which make up 63.7 per cent of its portfolio, and $67.4 billion in Canadian assets. Asian countries accounted for just over nine percent of its total assets.

The $183.3-billion fund had a five-year annualized rate of return of 4.2 per cent and in the 2013 fiscal year delivered a rate of return of 10.1 per cent.

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