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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mapletree plans to float 2 property trusts

SINGAPORE: Mapletree Investments, a property firm owned by Singapore state investor Temasek, plans to float two real estate investment trusts, including what may be Southeast Asia's largest REIT listing.

Listings of property trusts are making a comeback in Asia as investors are lured by their high yields relative to bonds, recovering from the credit crisis.

Malaysia's Sunway REIT is raising about US$455 million (RM1.48 billion) in Southeast Asia's biggest initial public offering so far this year. CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust is aiming to garner over US$300 million (RM978 million) in a Malaysia IPO.

Mapletree hopes to get as much as S$1 billion (RM2.32 billion) from the initial public offering of Mapletree Industrial Trust, which currently owns about S$1.7 billion (RM3.94 billion) worth of factories, business parks and warehouses in Singapore.
"We hope to launch the REIT by this year," Mapletree CEO Hiew Yoon Khong told reporters yesterday. He declined to name the bankers involved in the deal but banking sources said the institutions were Citi, DBS and Goldman Sachs.

The banks either declined comment or were not contactable.

Bahrain's Arcapita will help market the REIT, which is syariah compliant, to Middle East investors, the sources added.

Following the listing of Mapletree Industrial Trust, the Temasek unit will float Mapletree Commercial Trust, whose assets include Vivocity, Singapore's largest mall, and several office buildings west of the city-state's central business district.

Mapletree has not yet appointed bankers for its commercial REIT, which will draw the initial portfolio from the firm's S$6.4 billion (RM14.85 billion) worth of Singapore commercial properties, Hiew said.

Mapletree owns or manages over S$13 billion (RM30.16 billion) worth of real estate assets in Singapore and around Asia.

Its listed property trusts include Lippo-Mapletree, whose main assets are Indonesian malls, and Mapletree Logistics Trust, which owns warehouses and other industrial properties across Asia.

The company, which is unlisted, reported yesterday an 87 per cent increase in net profit to S$393.8 million (RM913.62 million) for the financial year ended March 2010.

Mapletree Industrial Trust will likely be Southeast Asia's largest REIT IPO when it comes onto the market.

REITs are property funds that pay out most of their rental income as dividend and are aimed at investors who want regular income with an opportunity to benefit if property values rise.

HSBC said recently it expects a surge in the number of Asian REITs over the next three to four years due to demand for more risk-averse property investments.

"We have plans to launch more REITs and private real estate funds," Hiew said. "We are optimistic about our growth in the year ahead (and) we will continue to scale up our fund management platforms and increase the share of assets under management as part of our overall growth strategy."

Besides listing the two REITS, Mapletree Investments intends to launch several private property funds including a US$300 million (RM978 million) Japan fund focused on IT-related infrastructure, a US$300-US$500 million (RM978 million to RM1.63 billion) Vietnam fund in which Mapletree may inject existing commercial and residential projects, and a US$500 million China-focused fund that will invest in a wide range of sectors.

By Reuters

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