RETAIL FUNDS | Tony Chua, Singapore

Keppel and Al Rajhi JV achieves initial closing

Obtained amount of $100mln to be used for Securus Fund, world's first Shariah-compliant data centre fund.

Keppel Data Centre Investment Management Pte. Ltd. (Keppel DCIM) and AEP Investment Management Pte. Ltd. (AEPim), as Joint Investment Managers, announce the initial closing of Securus Data Property Fund Pte. Ltd. (Securus Fund), the world's first Shariah-compliant data centre fund, according to a Keppel report.

Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation Ltd (Keppel T&T) and AEP Capital Ltd, part of Saudi Arabia-based Al Rajhi Holding Group, are co-sponsors of Securus Fund.

Securus Fund's initial closing was achieved at US$100 million with institutional investors from the Middle East and Asia including a Brunei institution Perbadanan Tabung Amanah Islam Brunei (TAIB) as a cornerstone investor.

Securus Fund intends to acquire a high quality portfolio of data centre assets across its target markets in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East and will consider both existing income-generating data centre assets and development opportunities. The Fund is currently assessing a number of opportunities within its target markets.

Bruno Lopez, Executive Director of Keppel DCIM, said, "The Fund will be a significant step for Keppel T&T towards leveraging our expertise in operating high quality and mission-critical data centres capitalising on the growth opportunities within the industry. The rapid pace of digitisation and the increasing importance of data to business and social networking developments are driving the growth of this unique asset class. As a data centre owner and manager, we have the track record and competencies to develop, operate and enhance the value of the fund's assets resulting in security of income and value growth for our investors."

The unique feature of Securus Fund is that it complies with the principles of Shariah investment.

Jonathan King, Principal and Director of AEPim, said, "The Fund is commercially focused to extract maximum returns for our investors by leveraging the technical expertise of Keppel T&T and investment management capabilities of AEPim. Through AEPim's parentage with the Al Rajhi Holding Group, we have access to a proprietary Shariah capital base in the Asian and Gulf Cooperation Council regions. By partnering Keppel, we can create investment products attractive to Shariah capital investors. Additionally, we are confident our fund strategy will also attract conventional investors looking for ethical products since the fundamentals of the investment are compelling."

As a Shariah-compliant fund, Securus Fund has, among others, a three-man committee to guide and approve the Fund's investments. The committee comprises Associate Professor Dr. Ashraf Md Hashim, a Madinah University scholar; Professor Dr. Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha, an economist and academic from the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF); and Ustaz Mustazah Bahari, a member of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) appeal board and a consultant to the Mufti office. The committee will also include a scholar from TAIB to expand the scope of governance and compliance structure of the Fund's activities.

Data centre demand has been driven by the rapid rise of information-centric trends such as e-commerce, social networking and file sharing, increasingly stringent data-related regulatory requirements and technology advancements such as cloud computing. Supply of data centre space has been unable to match the growth in demand.

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