SOFAZ says still interested in real estate abroad

Gulgiz Dadashova

The state oil fund SOFAZ -- an entity that accumulates and manages Azerbaijan's oil and gas revenues -- has announced that it is still interested in property acquisitions in prime business districts of major cities around the world.

The company said that under short-term plans it plans to purchase commercial real estate in Asia.

"SOFAZ has its own strategy on the purchase of real estate and related requirements. If the commercial property meets the strategy and all requirements of the fund, then SOFAZ is ready to purchase it," the fund told Trend news agency.

Earlier, SOFAZ said it intends to invest about $1 billion in commercial real estate in one of the Asian countries in 2013.

SOFAZ now considers the possibility of investing in commercial real estate in Singapore, China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia.

Regarding the acquisition of real estate in Europe, particularly in Austria, SOFAZ said that there are no specific plans for the acquisition of real estate in this country for now, but in the case of options corresponding to SOFAZ's strategy, they will be considered.

Earlier SOFAZ purchased Gallery Actor, a mixed-use office and retail complex located on Pushkin Square in Moscow for $133 million, an office complex in London's West End for £177.35 million and a property in Paris for €135 million.

Moreover, the Fund is eyeing the opportunity to purchase real estate in Turkey, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

According to SOFAZ's investment strategy, up to five percent of its investment portfolio may be placed in stocks, up to five percent in real estate and five percent in gold.

SOFAZ was established in December 1999 by a presidential decree. Its primary objectives are to help maintain macroeconomic stability in the country and to generate wealth for present and future generations.

Projected total cost (the average amount) of the SOFAZ investment portfolio for 2013 was set at 25.2 billion manats, while the figure was projected at the level of 23 billion manats in late 2012.

In late 2012, the number of SOFAZ subsidiaries abroad reached eight. All created SOFAZ subsidiaries are required to manage the real estate abroad.

SOFAZ subsidiaries in Russia and the UK own investment property in these countries. In turn, the subsidiaries in Luxembourg and France were set up in order to acquire the property and ensure maintenance of investment property in Europe.

As of April 1, 2013, SOFAZ assets stood at $34.325 million, increasing 0.6 percent compared to early 2013.