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BlackRock said to explore sale of second Singapore office tower

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BlackRock Inc, the world's largest asset manager, is exploring a sale of its second office tower in Singapore's central business district, people with knowledge of the matter said.

[SINGAPORE] BlackRock Inc, the world's largest asset manager, is exploring a sale of its second office tower in Singapore's central business district, people with knowledge of the matter said.

BlackRock has started reaching out to potential buyers to gauge their interest in Asia Square Tower 2, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The development could fetch about S$2 billion, the people said.

Asia Square Tower 2 sits on the site next to Tower 1, which the Qatari sovereign wealth fund agreed to buy in June from BlackRock for S$3.4 billion in Singapore's biggest office transaction.

The 46-story Tower 2, spread over 784,100 square feet (72,845 square metres), includes office space as well as a Westin hotel. The building has an occupancy rate of over 90 per cent at the end of October, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc. 

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Office transactions in Singapore have been picking up this year, with CapitaLand Commercial Trust agreeing in May to buy 60 per cent of the CapitaGreen tower in the central business district for S$393 million.

Investment company MYP Ltd the next month said it plans to offer S$560 million for the Straits Trading Building. The government is also selling prime land in the Marina Bay financial district, the first such sale in nine years.

Representatives for BlackRock didn't immediately answer phone calls seeking comment.

Asia Square is owned by MGPA, which was acquired by BlackRock in 2013. MGPA developed the two towers on two adjoining plots it won in 2007 at government land auctions.

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