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UPDATE 2-Singapore's Keppel to buy Aermont Capital for $1 bln, expand into Europe

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Deal to expand Keppel's presence beyond Asia Pacific to Europe

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Acquisition to boost Keppel's funds under management by S$24 bln

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Deal to be earnings accretive, boost recurring income

(Adds CEO quote in paragraph 3, context and background in paragraph 5-6, details of the deal in 8 and of Aermont in 10)

By Upasana Singh and Yantoultra Ngui

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Singapore's Keppel Corporation on Wednesday said its unit Keppel Capital Holdings will acquire all issued voting shares in European asset manager Aermont Capital in two tranches, for a maximum sum of S$1.35 billion ($1 billion).

Keppel Capital will buy 50% stake in Aermont for a maximum amount of 356.9 million euros ($391.6 million) in the first half of 2024, and the remaining stake for 575 million euros in the first half of 2028, Keppel said in a stock exchange filing.

"The acquisition of an initial 50% stake in Aermont, with a pathway to an eventual 100% ownership and full integration, marks a major strategic step forward in Keppel's ambition to be a global asset manager and operator," Keppel's chief executive officer Loh Chin Hua said in a separate statement.

The acquisition will help Keppel gain foothold in Europe and expand beyond Asia Pacific, the company added in the filing.

Keppel, which traces its roots to a small ship repair yard corporatised in 1968, announced in May its plan to becoming an asset manager overseeing $150 billion by 2030 with a focus on green energy.

The business shift will see it operate more like Canada's Brookfield Asset Management and Australia's Macquarie Group.

The deal announced on Wednesday will add an initial S$24 billion to Keppel's funds under management of about S$53 billion, marking a significant progress towards its target of S$100 billion in 2026, it said in the filing.

The acquisition is also expected to be immediately earnings accretive to Keppel upon deal completion and boost its recurring income, the company said in the separate statement.

Keppel, backed by Singapore's state investment firm Temasek Holdings, will finance the acquisition from various sources including unutilised banking facilities and internal cash resources, an issue and or transfer of shares, the filing showed.

Established in 2007, Aermont manages funds totalling S$24 billion and counts assets and businesses in the office, student accommodation, workforce housing, luxury hospitality and production studio infrastructure sectors among its investments.

($1 = 1.3316 Singapore dollars) ($1 = 0.9115 euros) (Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru and Yantoultra Ngui in Singapore; Editing by Varun H K and David Evans)

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