Australian insurer to set up shop in BGC

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 04-08-2013

Australian insurance firm QBE is setting up its biggest office complex in the Philippines at the Bonifacio Global City's Net Cube building, which will become a local hub for its regional shared services.

QBE has signed a deal to lease six floors of the Net Cube Building in BGC, acquiring 6,500 square meters, or about a third of the Net Cube building, according to a joint statement issued by QBE and KMC MAG Group, the real estate services firm that brokered the property deal.

"We're very excited to have a big, official home in Manila. It took us a long time to search for the perfect space and I'm glad we can finally get things rolling now," QBE chief operating officer Brad Sinnatamby said.

The Australian company will occupy six of the 16 floors of the building, which will also bear the QBE signage, said Raymond Rufino, executive vice president at The Net Group, which developed the office property. "This is a big expansion for them," Rufino said in an interview.

Deutsche Bank was previously the anchor tenant of the building and carried the naming rights. As the bank moved some of its offices to another location, it gave up some of its space that, in turn, was partly taken up by QBE, Rufino said. QBE's signage is currently under construction and will soon rise at the building.

The area is undergoing a fit-out to suit the requirements of the employees who are expected to move in by next month. The local shared services facility of QBE will cover the group's requirements in Australia and the region.

Net Cube, the third building in the Net Group series, has a size of 19,200 square meters. The building was fully constructed in end-2007. For its part, Net Group has delivered six office buildings in BGC and recently broke ground for its seventh tower.

Gerold Fernando, commercial sales and leasing senior manager at KMC MAG, said QBE's requirement has been one of his group's "most challenging" transactions but also one of the "most rewarding." He said: "There's a sense of fulfillment that comes from knowing that you played a crucial part in a transaction that will house QBE's new shared service center."

"We toured all the sites and followed through with a detailed qualitative and quantitative comparison. We gave QBE foresight of what to expect if they choose a certain site and this included the hurdles and challenges they would or may encounter with solutions on how to overcome them. It was a challenge due to the lack of supply of office spaces in Metro [Manila]. It was a good thing that we knew about the space first so having a good line of sight of incoming supply was a great factor and working with a very professional landlord/developer (NET Group) made it all happen," Fernando said.