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PruPIM holds first close on Vietnam fund

Prudential’s property investment arm will charge ahead with its fundraising for the Southeast Asian nation, according to its Asia chief executive Alex Hambly.

PruPIM, the property investment arm of British insurer Prudential, has held a first close on its Vietnam property fund and is entering the second phase of its fundraising, the firm’s chief executive for Alex Hambly told delegates at the Reuters Global Real Estate Summit in Singapore Monday.

Hambly told the crowd that the firm plans to invest the money “sensibly” over an 18-month period. He didn’t say how much the target of the fund is currently, but said that the firm would not reach the $500 million (€322 million) top mark of the range it had cited previously.

Vietnam’s recent entry into the WTO has prompted increased foreign investment, as the government, still technically communist, has undergone a program of rapid deregulation. Vietnam-dedicated funds have so far been raised by VinaCapital, CapitaLand, the Chiphua Group and JLL. PruPIM was one of the first Western institutional investors to target property in the country.

However there are concerns that in the short-term the Vietnamese economy presents a significant risk, with a growing trade defecit threatening to degenerate into a crisis. However Hambly told the conference attendees that the firm is taking a long-term view of the country’s prospects.