Korean pension to invest $800m in overseas property

The National Pension Service has reportedly set aside a large stockpile for investing in distressed property in the US and other markets.

South Korea’s National Pension Service, the world’s fifth-biggest pension fund, has set aside 800 billion won ($806.8 million) for overseas property investment, Reuters news service reported today.

Kwag Dae-whan, who leads the pension’s overseas investment service, said that the service was targeting opportunities in the United States and elsewhere in the west as property prices fall.

He said that the fund would double its 2007 investment in overseas real estate assets. Last year, less than half of the firm’s $539 million worth of real estate investment was made up of real estate assets.  The fund began making foreign property purchases in 2006 through real estate funds. It has also directly purchased office and commercial buildings, logistics centers and senior centers.

The pension's overall private equity capital commitments of about $1 billion as of December 2007. It has invested in about 10 private equity funds so far, and has made commitments with managers such as Blackstone, KKR and TPG. The fund manages approximately $233 billion as of December 2007.