Australia: Norton Rose Fulbright acts for AEP Investment Management in innovative Shariah-compliant deal
Last Updated: 15 February 2016

An Asia-Pacific team from global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright advised Singapore-based AEP Investment Management (AEPiM) on its acquisition of 41 George Street, in the Brisbane CBD, from two QIC funds. The 27 storey tower was sold for $159.8 million to Basil Property Trust, a Shariah-compliant, cross-border business space fund managed by AEPiM.

The real estate asset was keenly contested, given it was almost wholly leased to the State of Queensland and is situated in a precinct which, with recent and future developments, is emerging as a new hub for entertainment, government and education.

Our cross-border team – spanning Brisbane, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong – acted for AEPiM on all aspects of its acquisition, including structuring and establishing the acquisition vehicle, negotiating the debt finance and procuring Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval, as well as all aspects associated with the purchase of the property itself. The purchase was AEPiM's first acquisition for Basil Property Trust in Australia.

Norton Rose Fulbright partner in Singapore, Natalie Breen, commented:

"We are continuing to see strong demand from Asia-based investors into Australian commercial real estate and expect that to continue in 2016. We are delighted to have assisted our clients on this transaction. It demonstrates the strength of our now well-established cross-border capability, built on a track record of successful real estate acquisitions on behalf of Asian investors in not only Brisbane, but Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as well."

Norton Rose Fulbright partner in Brisbane, Michael French, commented:

"The fact that the Basil Property Trust is a Shariah compliant fund made the debt and derivative work particularly innovative, as the loan was one of the few Shariah compliant facilities for a property purchase in Australia. This deal has contributed to the depth of our experience in this area, as well as our standing as a market leader in Shariah finance and cross-border investment transactions in Australia more broadly."

The team was led by partners Natalie Breen (Singapore) and Michael French (Brisbane), who worked closely with partners Dale Rayner (Brisbane), John Moutsopoulos (Sydney) and Davide Barzilai (Hong Kong).

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