Singapore Press plans to raise $540m in retail REIT IPO

Singapore Press Holdings, the newspaper publisher that owns the Paragon mall along the city’s shopping belt, said it plans to raise about $540 million from the initial share sale of a property trust.

The real estate investment trust is expected to list in early July, Chief Financial Officer Tony Mallek said in a briefing today. The REIT will buy Paragon and the Clementi Mall located in a western suburb for $3.07 billion, Singapore Press said in a statement today. It will pay a one-time dividend of 18 cents a share, the company said.

The trust “allows SPH to crystallize the value in Paragon and the Clementi Mall, and release capital to fund the group’s growth and the special dividend,” it said in the statement, adding that it will hold about 70% of the retail REIT after it goes public.

The IPO comes after Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust raised $1.6 billion in February. REITs and business trusts have been the biggest fundraisers in Singapore’s IPO market in the past 12 months, accounting for almost 80% of the $6.6 billion raised in the city, the data show.

The REIT will have a market value of $2.2 billion, and will hold $900 million of debt, the company said in its presentation slides.

Paragon, located along Orchard Road, and Clementi Mall are “fully leased,” Singapore Press said earlier this year.

In the year through August 2012, property accounted for 26% of Singapore Press’s operating income of $466.9 million, while newspapers and magazines accounted for almost 71%, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Singapore Press climbed 8.9% this year, compared with the 7.1% increase in the benchmark Straits Times Index. The stock added 0.5% to S$4.39 at the close in Singapore before the announcement.

Singapore Press also said in January that it will monitor its cost structure amid changing media consumption trends for a “sustained performance” of its main newspaper business.

Source – TheEdge : 27 May 2013

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