Exchanges courting TA to list property trust

By BUSINESS TIMES

TA ENTERPRISE Bhd, which expects to list its first property trust by year-end or early 2008, is being courted by three stock exchanges, its top official said.

Executive chairman Datin Alicia Tiah said stock exchanges in Malaysia, Singapore and Australia are keen on having TA list its real estate investment trust (REIT) in their respective countries.

“Of these three, if you compare the advantages and disadvantages, Singapore has the edge. But we have not finalised things yet,” she told reporters after TA’s annual general meeting yesterday.

She explained that Singapore gave better valuations for REITs compared to Malaysia, while yields there were not as high as in Malaysia.

Analysts believe that TA is most likely to list the REIT, expected to raise RM500 million, in Singapore.

The properties to be injected into the REITs are the Terasen Center office building in Vancouver, the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Sydney and Menara TA One in Kuala Lumpur, which collectively have a market value of over RM1.2 billion.

Tiah said TA is keen on buying properties in markets like China, India and Vietnam, which can later be injected into the REIT as well.

The property development and financial services group is currently in the midst of choosing its listing adviser for the REIT.

TA, which develops high-end luxury properties, has 74ha of freehold land available for development valued at about RM670 million, which should last the group at least 10 years, Tiah said. Most of it is on prime land in the Klang Valley.

Meanwhile, the group also aims to increase the range of financial services that it offers such as corporate finance. It hopes to be able to get the licence to do that in mid-July.

The property development and financial services divisions currently contribute equally to group revenue, although Tiah believes property development may overtake the latter in the next two to three years.

Tiah is confident that TA, which made a net profit of RM133.7 million in the last fiscal year, will turn in better results this year on improved performances from both divisions.

The company has attracted increased foreign interest of late, she said. More than 40 per cent of TA’s shareholders now comprise foreign investors.

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