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Friday, January 22, 2010

Axis REIT eyes RM1b assets

Axis REIT Managers Bhd, the manager of Axis Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), targets to manage RM1 billion worth of assets by the end of this year.

It plans to buy five properties, valued at about RM180 million, this year. It is now assessing two new warehouses in Port of Tanjung Pelepas in Johor, a factory or a warehouse in Puchong, Selangor, and an office building in Cyberjaya.

"We are targeting another capital raising in early 2010," said chief executive officer Stewart LaBrooy during a media briefing yesterday.

Axis REIT plans to place out another 61.4 million units or about 20 per cent of its current fund size, which will raise some RM113 million.

As at December 31 2009, it managed 21 properties ranging from offices and warehouses to logistic centres, with a total asset value of RM907.74 million.
For 2009, Axis REIT's revenue rose 13.4 per cent to RM71.9 million, while net income stood at RM42.9 million against RM39 million in 2008. It has borrowings of RM308.9 million.

The manager is optimistic of maintaining this performance despite a soft property market outlook this year. LaBrooy said he is confident of the property trust's growth strategy to actively pursue quality acquisitions.

"When we buy, we look for a property with strong yield and possibly a locked-in tenant. We also continuously innovate our existing buildings to attract and retain tenants," he said.

Axis REIT is spending RM10 million to refurbish two buildings this year, namely Nestle House, which is now known as Quanttro West, and Crystal Plaza in Petaling Jaya.

Nestle Products Sdn Bhd moved out of Nestle House in November last year. The group is spending some RM7 million to upgrade Quanttro and it should be ready by April 2010.

"We have anchor tenants for 50 per cent of the space and are currently undergoing talks with another MNC (multinational company) for another 25 per cent of the space. We hope to have the building fully occupied by April," said LaBrooy.

By Business Times (by Zurinna Raja Adam)

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