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KKR in deal to buy 70 pct of Melbourne office project

HONG KONG, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Global private equity firm KKR & Co LP and Australian property manager Abacus Property Group have agreed to buy 70 percent of the World Trade Centre in Melbourne for A$120.4 million ($112.1 million), Abacus said in a statement on Monday.

The deal, KKR's first real estate investment in Australia, sees the firm and Abacus buy an interest in Towers 2, 3 and 4 of the World Trade Centre, in a deal which will provide an initial yield of 9.3 percent a year, Abacus said.

KKR has previously invested in real estate assets in Asia, in markets including China, India and South Korea.

The vendor, Asset 1 WTC, a privately-owned real estate group, will retain a 30 percent co-ownership interest in the property, which is part of the Northbank precinct adjacent to Melbourne's central business district.

Towers 2, 3 and 4 provide around 43,500 square metres (468,230 square feet) of office space and 4,600 square metres of retail space. Over 50 percent of the office component is leased to the State Government of Victoria.

($1 = 1.0738 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Stephen Aldred; Editing by Matt Driskill)