NEWSMAKER-Schwartz’s foresight helps GLP make roaring debut

* Helped turn ProLogis into world’s biggest warehouse firm

* Highly rated by former colleagues and subordinates

* Good at hiring, developing local talent

By Kevin Lim

SINGAPORE, Oct 18 (BestGrowthStock) – Jeff Schwartz’s career may
have taken a tumble in 2008 when he quit U.S. warehouse giant
ProLogis (PLD.N: ) on worries about the firm’s ability to service
debt, but he’s now back as vice chairman of the Asian crown
jewels discarded by his former employer.

Global Logistic Properties (GLP) (GLPL.SI: ), the logistics
arm of Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC [GIC.UL], surged 12
percent on its debut in Singapore on Monday. This values the
firm at over $7 billion and gives a ringing endorsement to
Schwartz’s vision of building a strong presence in China.

GLP is set to raise S$3.9 billion ($3.01 billion), making
it Asia’s ninth biggest IPO this year and Singapore’s second
biggest offering since SingTel’s (STEL.SI: ) S$4 billion float in
1993.

Shwartz co-founded GLP when it was formed out of the
Japanese and Chinese operations of ProLogis that GIC bought for
$1.3 billion in December 2008.

Just one month earlier, Schwartz had left ProLogis after
the firm’s share price plunged on worries over its ability to
service debt.

Schwartz, who joked his working hours were the hours not
spent sleeping, defended his record at ProLogis although he
acknowledged the firm could have been managed better in some
areas.

“We created a very profitable but very complicated
structure there and there are ways to be just as profitable but
simpler with a bit more transparency,” he told Reuters.

“Part of that was legacy, things I inherited.”

These days Schwartz looks set on building a legacy of his
own at GLP.

Schwartz and co-founder Ming Mei, ProLogis’ former head of
China and current GLP CEO, have rapidly expanded the China
business to become the number one player there.

They were helped by financial support from GIC, one of the
world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds, and cash flows from
GLP’s Japan warehouses and distribution centres.

GLP’s customers include Wal-Mart China, DHL and FedEx Corp
(FDX.N: ).

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Story on GLP market debut: [ID:nSGE69H00F]

Graphic of Global IPOs: http://link.reuters.com/kum57p

Graphic of Asia top IPOs in 2010:

http://link.reuters.com/mep5p

Special Report on Singapore: http://r.reuters.com/wef36p

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People who have worked with Schwartz, a Harvard MBA,
describe the 51-year-old as a workaholic who is as comfortable
seeking sites for development as he is with spinning off
completed warehouses and injecting them into property funds.

“Jeff is the most complete real estate manager I’ve met. He
knows investments, he knows development and he knows
financials,” said Christian Bischoff, who was head of Prologis’
Northern European business until he retired earlier this year.

“He’s a tough guy to work for (and) I’ve never seen anyone
work as hard as Jeff.”

Schwartz made his mark in the 1990s and early 2000s when he
spearheaded ProLogis’ expansion into Mexico, Europe and Asia.

He became chairman and CEO of ProLogis in 2005 and led the
firm through several acquisitions, winning accolades and the
No. 1 position among real estate firms in Fortune magazine’s
2007 and 2008 ranking of “America’s Most Admired Companies”.

Schwartz is another top executive joining the pool of
foreign talent in Singapore, which has in the past hired
international bankers and corporate executives to run firms
linked to the government.

TALENT SPOTTING

David Watt, head of Asia-Pacific business development and
client services at DTZ, a UK property consultancy, said he
thought Schwartz’s strongest quality was his ability to
identify and recruit good people — many of them local.

“He’s the very energetic, go-getting sort, and he is very,
very good in his hiring,” Watt said of Schwartz.

His view was shared by John Blumberg, chairman of U.S.
property firm Black Creek Capital and a friend of Schwartz.

“We’ve poached a lot of people from ProLogis over the years
because they were so well trained and taught,” said Blumberg.

If Schwartz had a weakness, it was his tendency to pursue
growth aggressively which could prove detrimental in a bubbly
market, a person who had worked with the GLP vice-chairman
said.

Schwartz told Reuters there were large economies of scale
to be gained from offering clients access to multiple
locations.

This was why GLP is bent on rapid expansion across China
despite being several times bigger than its next largest
competitor, he added.

“I think there is a focus in the U.S. on short-term
earnings growth. The philosophy I believe in far more — which
is a far more Asian approach — is to grow net asset value
simultaneously and I think that is more appropriate for a real
estate company.”
(Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)

NEWSMAKER-Schwartz’s foresight helps GLP make roaring debut