WEALTH MANAGEMENT | Cesar Tordesillas, Japan

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust to double assets in property unit

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Real Estate Investment Management Co. plans to increase its assets from around ¥225.8 billion to ¥500 billion within two years.

Mitsuo Kimura, president and CEO of the Tokyo-based unit, said that the company is also considering setting up a private real estate investment trust depending on investor demand and will reach a decision by next March, Kimura said.

The property company and an investment unit of AXA SA, Europe's second-largest insurer, said last month they each started a fund with ¥5 billion to purchase office space in central Tokyo. The two funds, which may jointly

invest in buildings, plan to raise as much as ¥50 billion to enable them to acquire ¥100 billion in assets, according to Kimura.

"I expect the market to recover next year," Kimura said in an interview. "Japan's stability has become attractive for European and U.S. investors who are seeking a place to invest."

Sumitomo Mitsui's property fund will look to acquire office buildings in central Tokyo in the ¥3 billion to ¥10 billion price range, according to the company.

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