Singapore Briefs

By THE EDGE

Strong bidding for SLA tender of former government institutions

The Singapore Land Authority announced that it had received bids from office users of as high as 68% above the guide rents for three sites, the tender for which closed in May. The former River Valley Primary School at 341 River Valley Road (above) was awarded to ERC Holdings, which plans to spend S$3 million (about RM6.75 million) to S$5 million to refurbish the school building into a boutique office complex with F&B, training and meeting facilities.

The former CPIB Building at Cantonment Road saw 15 bids, the highest SLA has ever received for a tender, ranging from S$27 million to S$91.73 million. Bravo Building Construction submitted the highest bid, which was 68.6% above the guide rent. The lease will be for three years and is renewable up to 2016.

Phillip Securities submitted the higher of two bids for the former Moulmein CC at Shan Road; and new property management company, RichZone Properties Investment submitted the higher of two bids for the former ITE building at Pasir Panjang.

Owing to the strong response, SLA has released three more new properties for tender as office space: the former CID Training Centre at 18 Pearl’s Hill Terrace, the former Gan Eng Seng School at Raeburn Park, and the former Bukit Ho Swee Community Centre at 300 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee.

Ratings and analyst reports give MI-REIT a boost

MacarthurCook Industrial REIT (real estate invesment trust) received a fillip recently from both rating agencies and analysts. The manager of MI-REIT announced that it had received a Baa3 rating with a “stable” rating outlook by rating agency Moody’s Investor Services.
The credit rating will enable it to increase its gearing limit to the maximum of 60% of the value of the properties in its portfolio to fund future acquisitions. The manager also reported that it had successfully increased its bank-credit facility from S$128.8 million to S$220.8 million.

Considered the smallest of the listed industrial REITs on the Singapore Exchange, MI-REIT has an initial portfolio of 12 properties worth S$316.2 million. Meanwhile, UBS issued a report saying it expects MI-REIT to ramp up its gearing from the current 8% to its target gearing of 45% within 18 months as it makes annual purchases of assets in Singapore worth S$300 million to S$500 million over the next three years.

Its distribution per unit would be increased 23% from now till end-FY2009. UBS initiated a “buy” rating, with a target price of S$2.07. HSBC also initiated coverage on MI-REIT, with an “overweight” rating and a target price of S$1.57.

Soilbuild postpones auction of Leonie Parc View units

Listed boutique developer Soilbuild has postponed the auction of the three largest units in its Leonie Parc View boutique development, scheduled for June 8, to be conducted jointly by Colliers International and Christie’s Great Estates’ exclusive associate, Ken Jacobs. The reason cited was that eight units released in the past fortnight had seen transactions ranging from S$3,000 to S$3,400 psf, versus the initial indicative price of S$3,200 to S$3,600 psf given by the auctioneers. So far, 26 of the 43 units in the project have been sold. “In the light of the positive response, the group has decided to release more units progressively for sale and defer the release of the premium Sky Villa and two penthouses via an auction,” said the company in a press statement.

Robinson brings in UK lifestyle brand

SGX-listed retail group, Robinson and Co, announced recentry that it would bring Fat Face, a leading active lifestyle brand, to Asia. The plan is to open 13 stores in the region within five years. The rollout will begin in September, with the first store in Suntec City Convention Mall, followed by two in Kuala Lumpur the following month — one in The Gardens, Mid Valley City and the other in Bangsar Village. There are plans to open outlets in Hong Kong and Indonesia next year.

Founded in 1988 by “ski fanatics” Tim Slade and Jules Leaver, Fat Face was acquired by UK-based private equity group, Bridgepoint, in March this year for £360 million (about RM1.1 billion). It now has 135 stores worldwide, mainly in the UK and Europe. Three opened in the Middle East last year.

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