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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Singapore Islamic REIT plans

SINGAPORE: ARA Asset Management and Qatar's Regency Group plan to launch the first real estate investment trust (REIT) here that will comply with Islamic principles as investor interest returns to REITs.

The proposed Islamic, or syariah-compliant, REIT will comprise hotels and serviced apartments in Qatar with an initial portfolio of around 164,000 sq m of gross floor area, said ARA, which is part-owned by Hong Kong property giant Cheung Kong.

ARA hopes to list the proposed REIT in the second half of next year. It declined to give an estimated value for the properties, which belong to Regency, a large Qatari developer which also owns car rental and travel agencies.

Singapore's REIT sector is the third largest in Asia, after Japan and Australia.
Unlike their regional counterparts which stay closer to home, the city-state's REITs invest across Asia and currently own around US$34 billion (US$1 = RM3.41) worth of properties ranging from industrial parks in India to malls in China.

Interest in Singapore REITs has picked up in the past month, with several trusts raising new equity or announcing acquisitions as confidence in Asian commercial property markets returns.

Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust, a REIT managed by ARA,last week raised S$152.9 million (S$1 = RM2.45) by selling new units through a private placement that was more than five times oversubscribed.

DBS Group is the financial adviser for the proposed ARA REIT.

By Reuters

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