Tuesday 21 February 2017

Heady named as chairman of Blackstone businesses throughout Asia-Pacific

Cathy Kit Ching Chan

Published 07/04/2016 | 02:30

Blackstone chief Stephen Schwarzman
Blackstone chief Stephen Schwarzman

Blackstone Group named Christopher Heady as chairman of its Asia-Pacific businesses, promoting a 16-year veteran banker who played a key role in expanding the group's real estate business in the region.

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Mr Heady will continue leading the firm's Asia real estate division and be supported by Jan Nielsen, who will serve as chief operating officer for all businesses, the company said in a press release. Nielsen leads private-equity investing in Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea. Daisuke Kitta, who leads Blackstone's real estate activities in Japan, was named head of Japan.

Mr Heady's appointment helps to bolster the firm's leadership in the region and comes after it recruited Zhang Liping from Credit Suisse as chairman for Greater China last July.

The announcement of the new chairman comes about two years after Michael Chae, who oversaw Blackstone's private-equity activities in the Asia-Pacific region, returned to New York to resume his responsibility for media and communications investments. Mr Chae had spent more than three years building the firm's business in Asia.

Mr Heady, who joined the Stephen Schwarzman led group in 2000, has been involved in the firm's real estate acquisitions and initiatives in the US, Europe and Asia. He led about $3bn (€2.6bn) of investments made by the firm in China, India, Japan and Australia. Prior to Blackstone, he was with Morgan Stanley in London, where he was involved in real estate private equity.

Mr Nielsen joined Blackstone in 2005 in London. Before that, he was an associate at Morgan Stanley's technology investment banking group, according to Blackstone's website.

Elsewhere, Beijing Homelink Real Estate Brokerage is seeking to raise funds in a financing round that will give the property company a valuation of about 40bn yuan (€5.5bn), according to people familiar with the matter.

Homelink, which focuses on rental and second-hand real estate transactions, is raising about $1bn and has attracted funding from Chinese Internet giants including Tencent Holdings and Baidu, said the people, who requested not to be named because the matter is private.

Homelink, which started its first physical store in Beijing in 2001, expanded to 5,000 outlets across 24 cities in China by October. The company has moved online to build a database that includes information on 56m property units and expects transactions initiated on its platform to rise 67pc to at least 1 trillion yuan by 2017 from last year, according to a report by the state-run "People's Daily" newspaper.

Online property brokers and agents are benefiting from central bank monetary stimulus and an easing of housing-market regulations, particularly in the major cities. Steps the government has taken to encourage home buying include a reduction of minimum down payments and cuts in deed and business taxes on home transactions. (Bloomberg)

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