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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

YTL awaits to launch second big REIT

YTL Corp Bhd , which has said it is buying into a Macquarie-led real estate investment trust (REIT) listed in Singapore, intends to launch a second REIT in Malaysia with assets worth more than RM1 billion when the market improves.

The proposed REIT, which is still in the early stages of planning, will be a collection of luxury hotels and resorts under the YTL stable, executive director Datuk Mark Yeoh Seok Kah said.

"We are looking at a hospitality REIT. The equity market now is going through a shake-up. We are studying the proposal and opportunities. We will consolidate our properties before planning the REIT," he told Business Times in an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

Yeoh did not indicate when the REIT might be launched, but ruled out next year.

The REIT, to comprise more than three assets, will be bigger than the Starhill REIT, launched in 2005 and the biggest of its kind in the country then.
Starhill REIT comprises the Starhill Gallery, Lot 10 Shopping Centre and JW Marriot Kuala Lumpur in the prime Bukit Bintang area. It raised RM523.4 million from the listing exercise.

The country's biggest builder, through its hospitality arm YTL Hotels & Properties (YTLHP) Sdn Bhd, is involved in both ownership and management of properties that are a stellar collection of internationally renowned, award-winning resorts, hotels and spas.

Its 100 per cent-owned properties are the Cameron Highlands Resort; JW Marriot; Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali in Indonesia; Villa Tassana in Phuket, Thailand; and Bray House, Berkshire in the UK.

YTLHP has stakes in the Majestic Malacca; The Chedi in Phuket; Vistana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kuantan; Tanjong Jara Resort in Terengganu; and Eastern and Oriental Express luxury train.

"Most of our hotels and resorts have been paid off, or are in the process of being paid off. They have been refurbished, so we have a total portfolio of new hotels and resorts which are good to be REIT-ed.

"We will continue to build YTL," Yeoh said.

YTL is planning to acquire hotels and resorts from next year, which it may include in the REIT, he added.

In October, YTL announced that it was buying a 26 per cent stake in the Singapore-listed Macquarie Prime REIT (MP REIT) and 50 per cent of Prime REIT Management Holdings Pte Ltd from Macquarie Bank Ltd for S$285 million (RM686 million).

MP REIT, which will be rebranded as Starhill Global REIT when the acquisition is completed early next year, has a market capitalisation of S$516 million (RM1.2 billion) and owns more than RM5.2 billion worth of prime retail and office properties in Singapore, Japan and China.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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