(Bloomberg) -- Bain Capital plans to bolster its real estate team in Japan, the latest global investment firm seeking to capitalize on opportunities in the nation’s property market. 

The Boston-based firm needs more staff with expertise to source deals and to help manage or sell off real estate held by Japanese companies that it invests in, said Co-Managing Partner David Gross. There are three people on Bain’s real estate team in Japan, and that could increase to six to 10 in the next year, he said. 

“Japan is an interesting market because corporates still own a lot of real estate,” Gross said in an interview in Tokyo. Bain is also interested in opportunities around hospitality, data centers and residential properties in the country, he added. 

Global investors including activist funds are increasingly seeing hidden value in Japanese companies that own properties which could be sold. Gross highlighted Bain’s disposal of under-utilized real estate held by Showa Aircraft Industry Co., an aircraft parts manufacturer that it bought four years ago. 

“There are a number of deals in our pipeline that are very similar to that,” he said.

After focusing on private equity buyouts for almost two decades in Japan, Bain last year hired former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Managing Director Man Kinoshita as a partner in its special situations group to oversee real estate work in the country and elsewhere in Asia. 

Gross, who was promoted to co-head of Bain earlier this year, said he wants to scale up the credit, real estate and insurance arms globally to boost profits. “There’s opportunities to double or triple those businesses,” he said. 

Earlier in his career, Gross helped build up Bain’s Asia operations and opened its Tokyo office in 2006.

Other Comments by Gross:

  • Bain has four to five deals in the pipeline in Japan that involve conglomerate carveouts, the biopharmaceutical sector and a family-owned retailer
  • Depending on market conditions, the firm could potentially take two to three portfolio companies public this year in Japan
  • The volatility and weakness in the yen hasn’t affected Bain’s investments or exits, and any potential interest-rate hikes by the Bank of Japan are already factored into investment decisions
  • Bain will likely add 10 to 15 more people at its Japan operations in the next few years
  • Deal activity in China has slowed, but Bain will continue to invest in the market and sees unique opportunities as businesses have had valuations drop and need capital

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