Published June 24, 2008

Lippo to invest US$10b in Asia over 5 yrs

Two-thirds of funds will be allocated to emerging markets

(SINGAPORE) Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group said yesterday it remains bullish on Asian property despite a slowdown, and plans to invest US$10 billion on projects and acquisitions over the next five years.

The group is targeting retail, residential, hospital and hotel projects, and also distressed property firms.

It will allocate two- thirds of the funds to emerging markets like China and Indonesia, and the remainder in developed markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

'We're still very bullish about the market. This downturn is just part of the economic cycle, and a huge opportunity for us to expand in the next 1-2 years,' Lippo Group president Stephen Riady said at the Reuters Global Real Estate Summit in Singapore.

He said the group will fund its growth mainly from internal resources such as the sale of non-core assets and listing of real estate investment trusts (Reits), and will limit loans from banks as borrowing costs rise amid a global credit crunch.

The Lippo Group currently has about 70 per cent of its assets in Indonesia, where its listed units include Lippo Karawaci and Lippo Cikarang, two satellite town developments near Jakarta with their own hospitals, universities, malls, housing, offices and even golf courses.

The group has two Singapore-listed Reits: First REIT, which is backed by Lippo's Indonesian hospitals and raised US$64 million in its initial public offering in 2006; and Lippo- Mapletree Indonesia Retail Trust, which raised US$356 million last November and is backed by Indonesian shopping malls. -- Reuters