About this series
Building Asia is a collection of business stories on CNA that examines the financial forces driving Asia’s position as an economic powerhouse.
Gaw Capital – Building a green future was first aired on 19 September 2022 under the Building Asia with UOB series. It looks at how UOB partnered Gaw Capital in one of the biggest loan syndication projects in Hong Kong SAR, with the ambition to rejuvenate ‘People’s Place’, a retail portfolio comprising old markets, malls and community spaces.
Kenneth Gaw (Managing Principal and President, Gaw Capital Partners):
People’s Place community malls – all of them are located in the public housing estates in Hong Kong.
A very big part of Hong Kong’s population live in these public housing estates.
When we first bought these assets, we thought that we want to really revive these aging communities. But not any plain old gentrification where you throw out the old, (and) you bring in the new.
Christine Ip (Chief Executive Officer, Greater China, UOB):
This was really a very huge and complex transaction. There’s a lot of due diligence and it’s one of the biggest financial transactions in Asia during this period of time, and also one of UOB’s biggest financing syndication projects.
Obviously, the most important was the acquisition loan, where over two transactions we bought four and a half billion US dollars’ worth of assets.
I can share a little secret. In the first batch, the final round there were six competitors. Actually, all are my clients. It made me, from all angles, understand very clearly, what is the purpose.
You know, a lot of people these days talk about ESG. This project also lets us focus on the social part of ESG, to make an impact on the everyday life of people.
Our relationship with UOB also led us to our first green loan in Asia, which is when we acquired the DUO Tower and Galleria building.
At UOB, we developed our green financing index and also our credit underwriting framework and we had to explain it to the Gaw team because they were so new to it and not many companies had kickstarted in that area.
But we were very grateful to see Gaw Capital coming on board and eventually we sealed the deal together.
UOB is really our long-term financing partner… actually, maybe you don't even know, Christine… we started from the US.
I know, Hollywood, yes.
Exactly, so our first relationship started in the US. And over time we moved back to Asia, across many markets.
I see there are still many more opportunities as they continue to grow. And they are leading the way. They can help us to help other clients make the world a better place to live.
What is really valuable about this relationship is, every time we go to a new market, every time we have a new concept, UOB is always there to support us.