Huge NZ property fund spikes global interest

A $1 billion-plus property fund based in New Zealand has drawn international media coverage…

Du Val Group said it planned to raise about $1 billion in two funds focusing on real estate in Australia and New Zealand. Stories about its rise have been published by Bloomberg, the South China Morning Post and the Wall Street Journal.

Du Val said it was seeking investors in Asia after launching its $250 million Mid-Market Fund in early August.

It planned to start the Opportunity Fund next month, to raise $1.1 billion.

Du Val has offices on level 27 of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Tower, Quay St, Auckland. Du Val's Charlotte Clarke is married to developer Kenyon Clarke, whose father, Peter, is involved in Du Val.

"But Du Val has nothing to do with Kenyon," Clarke said.

Inquiries had to be directed to an American media company, Roar.

She refused to say how much money had been raised or which buildings bought.

In 2008 the Waikato Times reported mother and son Jenepher and Kenyon Clarke, developers of many Hamilton studio apartment properties, had companies placed in receivership.

Du Val said some parts of Asia such as China were facing asset-bubble risks but markets such as New Zealand and Australia offered a more stable alternative because of steady growth.

"If you are a property investor, and most Chinese love property, the question is how can you leverage China's growth but mitigate your exposure to the Chinese property market?" said William Nobrega, managing partner at Miami-based The Conrad Group, which is advising Du Val on the funds.

Jeannie Salameh of Roar Media, also in Miami, Florida, said money had already been raised.

"The Du Val Mid-Market Fund is a $250 million private-equity real estate buyout fund established to selectively acquire and add value to a significant portfolio of office, industrial, retail and residential properties in major New Zealand cities."

She said the group had raised $75 million so far but she would not say what properties had been bought.