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By Ben Wilmot - The Australian

November 25, 2013 11:47AM

SINGAPORE’S AIMS AMP Capital Industrial REIT has forged into the Australian market with the purchase of a near half stake in the $375m Optus Centre at Macquarie Park in Sydney's north western suburbs.

The Singapore-listed group, whose plans to acquire Sydney assets were reported by The Australian last month, has capitalised on the strong Australian connections of its sponsors to buy a 49 per cent interest in the property from a Stockland managed fund, Stockland Direct Office Trust No 2., for more than $184m.

Optus Centre is Australia’s largest campus-style office complex and is fully leased by the SingTel-owned telco  for a weighted average lease term of 8.6 years with fixed annual escalation of 3 per cent.

The Singapore-listed property group is jointly run by the private AIMS Financial Group and financial services giant AMP Capital. The AIMS AMP fund cited the weaker Australian dollar and lower interest rates as potential drivers for a move into Sydney mid-year.

The Singapore trust unveiled a 12 per cent jump in distributions last year and a deal in Australia will lift distributions per unit by 5.7 per cent and its distribution yield will increase and 5.6 per cent.

Stockland's drawn-out sale process had pulled in a host of players, including rival Singaporean giant Ascendas.

The size and complexity of the asset and its ownership structure make the deal one of the landmark deals of the second half of this year.

The unlisted Stockland-run trust held a 49 per cent stake in the centre, with Stockland holding 31 per cent and superannuation giant Unisuper 20 per cent.

The prime office park serves as the largest single-tenant workplace in Australia. The complex, 12km northwest of the Sydney CBD, comprises an integrated campus with six low-rise office buildings with a total floor area of 84,194sq m and parking for 2100 cars.

Stockland and agent CBRE are yet to comment.

But striking the deal is a coup fro new Stockland chief executive Mark Steinert as he also looks for a capital partner on the group’s headquarters in the Sydney CBD.