Saturday, February 2, 2008

Straits Trading Bidding War Will Be Test For OCBC

Source : The Business Times, January 30, 2008

THE illustrious Tan and Lee families are the ones holding court in the current bidding war over The Straits Trading Company. But it is a seemingly silent player in the entire saga that may well hold the key to the eventual outcome: OCBC Bank.

The bank is in a delicate position in this takeover tussle, being both a substantial shareholder of Straits Trading and a company in which the Lee family has a controlling interest.

This battle between the Tans and the Lees will be a test of OCBC’s independence. The bank will need to balance its duty to its shareholders with its ties with the Lee family.

OCBC and the Lee family

Thus far, little thought and attention have been devoted to the role OCBC will play in this saga. The bank is simply one of many shareholders of Straits Trading - a Singapore-listed company with interests in property , hotels and tin smelting.

But unlike many of the other shareholders, OCBC is closely linked to one of the two parties fighting to take over Straits Trading.

The bank was founded by the late patriarch and philanthropist, Lee Kong Chian, who also managed OCBC from 1938 to 1964. And, to this date - while the bank is no longer a family-owned business but a publicly traded entity - OCBC continues to be substantially owned by the Lee family.

The Lees, through their various vehicles and subsidiaries, are believed to own about a quarter of OCBC and are its single largest shareholder.

OCBC was managed for a substantial portion of its history by the late Tan Chin Tuan. Mr Tan was OCBC’s managing director and chairman from 1964 to 1983. And the Tan family, through its vehicle Tecity, retains a small stake in the bank. Still, any residual relationship OCBC has with the Tan family pales in comparison to the ties it has with the Lee family.

And it is this perceived imbalance - and OCBC’s status as a listed company in its own right - that has put it in a very delicate position, with respect to the ongoing bidding war for Straits Trading.

OCBC’s pivotal role

Tecity’s chief, Chew Gek Khim - granddaughter of the late Mr Tan - has thrown the spotlight on OCBC’s plight when her family raised its bid for Straits Trading on Monday to $6.50 a share, from $5.70 previously.

Along with the revised offer, she announced to the public that she had sent offer letters to OCBC and the bank’s insurance arm, Great Eastern Holdings (GEH) - which own 6.21 per cent and 19.92 per cent of Straits Trading respectively.

She announced that if OCBC and GEH accept Tecity’s offer, the Tan family - which now owns 23.60 per cent of Straits Trading - would end up owning 49.73 per cent of the offer target.

Her move drew the public’s attention to the pivotal role that OCBC will play in this saga, and observers will now be watching to see how the bank will respond to the competing bids for its stake in Straits Trading.

Essentially, OCBC only has one of three choices to make: sell its stake to the Lees; sell its stake to the Tans; keep its stake.

The circumstances in which it makes this choice will be closely observed. At this point, the Tan family’s offer for Straits Trading at $6.50 a share is substantially higher than the Lee family’s offer of $5.76. Selling to the highest bidder is a commercial decision that most investors understand, so shareholders are unlikely to take OCBC to task if it decides to sell its stake to the Tans.

However, if OCBC chooses to either keep its stake or sell it to the Lees, it will have to justify its decision. If the bank retains its stake, shareholders will want to know if it believes that an offer of $6.50 a share still grossly undervalues Straits Trading.

And, if it decides to sell its stake to the Lees, whose offer is $0.74 a share less than the Tans’, it will really have to come up with good reasons to satisfy its shareholders.

The picture is different if the Lees decide to counter-offer with a higher bid. Any decision by OCBC to sell its Straits Trading stake to its controlling Lee family would then be seen more as a commercial decision. And shareholders would more likely question any decision on the part of the bank to sell its stake to the Tans or to keep the stake.

OCBC, GEH and other Straits Trading shareholders have until Feb 22 to consider accepting the Tan family’s offer - that is, unless a higher bid comes in before then from the Lees.

OCBC needs to recognise that it is in a delicate position, that it is being watched, and that it should move carefully. Its move will also set the tone for GEH’s decision.

Fortune Reit Distribution Income Up 3% In 2007

Source : The Business Times, January 30, 2008

FORTUNE Real Estate Investment Trust has announced distribution income of HK$284.8 million (S$51.8 million) for 2007, up 3 per cent from 2006.

Distribution per unit for the year ended Dec 31 edged up 2.5 per cent to HK$0.3512.

‘We are pleased that Fortune Reit’s portfolio of 11 retail malls delivered stable and sustainable growth for FY07,’ said Stephen Chu, chief executive of the Hong Kong-based Reit’s manager, ARA Asset Management.

‘This was driven by strong rental reversions of about 15.6 per cent for the whole year on a portfolio basis. Our pro-active asset management strategies, coupled with exciting promotional events in the malls, have contributed to healthy demand from tenants and shoppers.’

Fortune said that as of end-2007 its tax-exempt yield was 6.7 per cent, up from 5.8 per cent a year earlier. Strong rental reversions were driven by its Waldorf Garden Property , which was enhanced in August.

The average rental rate of the entire portfolio was 6.3 per cent higher at HK$25.23 psf at Dec 31, 2007, versus HK$23.74 psf a year earlier. Approximately 45 per cent of leases in the portfolio expire this year, creating a good opportunity for organic growth in a strong retail market, Fortune said.

Regent Off The Hook For Now

Source : TODAY, Thursday, January 31, 2008

STB stops Allgreen’s purchase of condo for lack of ‘good faith’

AN APPLICATION for the en bloc sale of Regent Garden has been dismissed by the Strata Titles Board (STB) - much to the delight of the majority owners.

A group of 25 owners at the 31-unit condominium had earlier sued the buyers, Allgreen Properties, for allegedly breaching the sale and purchase agreement by grossly undervaluing the property at West Coast Road. Allgreen has denied the allegations.

While the High Court has yet to hold a hearing on the case, the STB yesterday decided that the $34-million sale was not conducted in “good faith” because the basis for the valuation of the property was wrong.

The majority owners argued that developer Allgreen had overstated the development charge, or DC, thus depressing the sale price.

The DC was initially stated to be $7.6 million, but worked out to be just over $950,800. The STB heard that the sale committee had discovered the shortfall from a letter dated July 23 last year, sent from the Urban Redevelopment Authority to Allgreen’s architects in their proposed redevelopment project.

In explaining the STB’s decision, which also took into account the views of two valuers who had performed valuations of the condominium, deputy president Alfonso Ang said the first calculation of the DC “gave rise to incorrect market value”, thus resulting in “the sale price of $34 million that was well below the market value”.

When the STB announced its decision yesterday, owners who were present were all smiles and congratulated one another.

However, this is just round one of what is to come. There are still two High Court orders on whether the contractual agreement signed between the condominium’s sale committee and Allgreen is valid.

The developer said in a statement it was “surprised” at the STB’s decision to proceed with the hearing despite the pending Court proceedings initiated by both parties.

“The Board’s decision will have no bearing on Allgreen’s case in the High Court, where Allgreen will continue to ask for an order that the majority owners complete the sale and purchase of Regent Garden in accordance with the terms of the sale and purchase agreement,” it said.

Allgreen said that before the agreement was signed, it had offered the option of having a floating sale price that would be subject to the DC. The sale committee, however, rejected this option and decided to fix the sale price at $34 million in order to guarantee itself certainty of sale, the developer added.

CDL’s Hotel Trust To Pay Out 57% More Per Unit

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 31, 2008

NEW property acquisitions and asset revaluations last year helped push up income for City Developments’ (CDL) hotel trust.

CDL Hospitality Trusts (H-Trust) yesterday said revenue for its fourth quarter was $28 million, 65 per cent more than a year ago. Revenue per available room for all its Singapore hotels went up 34.5 per cent to $191 for the three months ended Dec 31.

Net property income rose 73 per cent over the same period to $26.9 million. The trust also recorded a net surplus of $239.4 million for the quarter on the revaluation of its investment properties .

Distribution per unit for the quarter was 2.76 cents, up 57 per cent from the previous year.

This brings distribution per unit to 4.61 cents for the period from July 19 to Dec 31, of which 4.22 cents is taxable and the rest is tax-exempt. This will be paid out on Feb 29.

The trust had earlier distributed income for the period up to July 18, ahead of issuing new units in an equity fund-raising exercise on July 19.

Earnings per unit for the fourth quarter came to 31.53 cents, up from 20.55 cents the previous year.

Net asset value per unit was $1.61 as at Dec 31, from $1.03 a year ago.

For the full year, gross revenue was $90.7 million, almost 60 per cent over pro-forma revenue for the previous year. CDL H-Trust was listed only in July 2006.

Net property income for the year was $85.8 million, 62.9 per cent over the pro-forma figure in 2006.

CDL H-Trust’s distributable income will be $68.7 million for the full year, which works out to 8.98 cents per unit.

The annualised distribution yield is 4.12 per cent as at last Friday’s closing price of $2.18, the trust said.

CDL H-Trust now owns seven hotels, including recent additions Novotel Clarke Quay and Rendezvous Hotel Auckland.

Occupancy rate for all of CDL H-Trust’s hotels stood at an average of 89 per cent in the fourth quarter. The average daily rate for the quarter rose 32 per cent to $216.

In general, Singapore hotels also did well. A record 10.3 million visitors visited Singapore last year, 5.4 per cent more than in 2006.

Upcoming attractions this year, such as the Formula One Grand Prix and the opening of the Singapore Flyer, are expected to keep Singapore’s tourism industry buoyant.

This year, CDL H-Trust will also launch 24 new extended-stay rooms at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, which are to be ready between next month and April.

Office Rents Lift MMP Reit’s Income

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 31, 2008

MACQUARIE Meag Prime real estate investment trust (MMP Reit) yesterday reported a distributable income per unit of 1.68 cents for the fourth quarter, up 14.3 per cent from a year earlier.

This took its full-year distributable income per unit to 6.19 cents, up from 5.79 cents the previous year. The annualised yield is at 6.06 per cent.

Distributable income was at $16.2 million for the Reit, which owns about 74 per cent of Wisma Atria and 27 per cent of Ngee Ann City.

These favourable results were, in part, helped by Singapore’s strong office market.

Average office rents at the two buildings rose from $7 to $8 per sq ft (psf) in the first half to slightly above $12 psf at the end of last year, said Mr Franklin Heng, chief executive of the Reit’s manager.

Their asking rents are now $16 psf. They will be able to take advantage of the strong market in the next two years, he said.

The Reit’s performance was also boosted by income from newly acquired properties in Japan and China.

MMP Reit’s portfolio valuation increased 18.1 per cent to $2.2 billion in the fourth quarter, while net asset value per unit rose 27.8 per cent to $1.61 at the end of last year.

The Reit is set to benefit from the reconfiguration of the Ngee Ann city space occupied previously by the National Library. They are carving out at least eight new stores and will get average rents of $16.50 psf, up from $7.10 psf.

However, the big uplift this year will come from the June rent review of Toshin Development, which holds a master lease in Ngee Ann City, said Mr Heng.

Acquisitions are also on the cards.

MMP Reit Posts 15.7% Rise In Distributable Income For Q4

Source : The Business Times, January 31, 2008

MACQUARIE MEAG Prime Real Estate Investment Trust (MMP Reit) has reported a 15.7 per cent year-on-year rise in distributable income to $16.2 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2007. The Q4 distribution brought 2007 full year’s distributable income to $59 million, up 7.5 per cent.

Distribution per unit (DPU) for the quarter rose 14.3 per cent to 1.68 cents, bringing full-year DPU to 6.19 cents, a rise of 6.9 per cent. ‘This is a result of our regional diversification strategy and focused asset management efforts,’ said Franklin Heng, CEO of MMP Reit’s manager Macquarie Pacific Star.

On an annualised basis, the latest distribution represents a yield of 6.06 per cent based on MMP Reit’s traded unit price of $1.10 on Dec 31, 2007. An increase in the valuations of MMP Reit’s portfolio of 10 properties raised group net asset value (NAV) per unit to $1.61 as at Dec 31, 2007, up 38.8 per cent from end-2006’s $1.16.

Gross revenue for Q4 2007 was $29.8 million, up 32.1 per cent year-on-year. This was due to higher rental rates from renewals, new leases and revenue from new acquisitions. Full-year gross revenue rose 14.6 per cent to $103 million. Net property income for Q4 rose 29.1 per cent to $22.1 million, despite higher year-on-year expenses. This brought full year’s net property income to $76.8 million, up 10.9 per cent. Mr Heng said: ‘As at Dec 31, 2007, our Singapore properties enjoyed full occupancy for retail space and 99 per cent occupancy for office space. The 79,100 square feet of office leases which expired in 2007 had average quarterly passing rents of $4.90 to $5.30 per square foot per month (psfpm) and these were renewed or contracted at average rents of $7.70 to $12.10 psfpm.’

Related links: Click here for MMP Reit’s media release Financial statements Presentation slides

MMP Reit’s portfolio includes a 74.23 per cent strata title interest in Wisma Atria and a 27.23 per cent strata title interest in Ngee Ann City. In 2007, it acquired seven prime properties in Tokyo and a retail property in Chengdu in China, growing its asset portfolio to $2.2 billion.

The Reit said it continues to exercise prudent capital management by maintaining a low gearing and strong balance sheet. ‘Our gearing of 29 per cent is at a healthy level. To shield MMP Reit from interest rate volatility, 89 per cent of our debt is fixed and the average interest rate is 2.69 per cent. Interest cover is 4.4 times. The recent establishment of a $2 billion multi-currency medium term note (MTN) programme will provide additional sources of funding,’ said Mr Heng.

On MMP Reit’s outlook, Stephen Girdis, chairman of Macquarie Pacific Star, said: ‘MMP Reit has in the past year laid the foundations for strong organic growth for the next couple of years, through its maiden acquisitions in Japan and China, and its tenancy remix and asset enhancement initiatives for MMP Reits’s Singapore properties , Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City.’

Tough Figuring Out What STC Is Worth

Source : The Business Times, January 31, 2008

LESS than a month ago, hardly anyone paid attention to The Straits Trading Company (STC), a stock traded so thinly that despite being a billion-dollar company involved in the hot mining sector, no analysts covered it.

Now that blood is in the water, so to speak, the sharks are circling. Speculation or otherwise has driven STC’s share price up to $6.75 as at yesterday’s close, even though the latest counter-offer, made on Monday by the Tan Chin Tuan family-linked Tecity Group, was $6.50 a share.

So what exactly are these people buying?

STC has four core segments: tin mining and smelting, hotels, property , and financial investments. Let’s take it one segment at a time.

The tin business is run through the KL-listed Malaysia Smelting Corp (MSC), of which STC owns 73 per cent, according to its 2006 annual report.

MSC produced about a fifth of the world’s tin output in 2005, or more than 58,000 tonnes, from mining and smelting operations in Malaysia and on the Indonesian island of Bangka. Bangka is one of the world’s largest tin mining areas. But in recent years the Indonesian police have clamped down on illegal mining there, disrupting business.

Of MSC’s two subsidiaries there, 75 per cent-owned PT Koba Tin has been dogged by investigations, causing MSC’s output to fall by a quarter in 2006.

The problems continue. Last June, three executive directors were accused of getting ore from small-scale miners operating outside a licensed area. They were fully acquitted. However, the issue surfaced again on Tuesday, when Koba Tin was ordered to stop smelting to facilitate investigations because its suppliers were alleged to have mined in a forest area.

Hotel arm

STC’s hotel arm is run through Rendezvous Hotels & Resorts International, which operates 14 four or five-star hotels and has a further five under construction. The bulk are in Australia and New Zealand, with one each in Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE, and three in China.

The group also owns commercial and residential properties , the latter mainly freehold land, for rental and sale. A handful are in Singapore while the bulk are in Malaysia. The segment also includes Straits Media, a billboard advertising unit.

In its report, STC said it planned to have minimal equity in development, focusing instead on growing fee-based property and hotel management services.

Next, let’s try to estimate how Tecity’s latest offer - which prices the group at $2.1 billion - implicitly values the component businesses.

Assuming MSC’s market price is fair, we can estimate its value. Translated to Sing dollars, its market cap is $254 million. STC’s 73 per cent stake is worth $185 million.

Next, we estimate the value of STC’s financial investments from its balance sheet as at Sept 30, 2007, the most recent publicly available. At the time, marketable securities stood at $90 million and long-term investments at $385.7 million. STC also held $346.5 million in cash or deposits and had $164 million in short and long- term borrowings. We make the large assumption that these values have not changed.

Subtracting these from Tecity’s offer value leaves a residual of about $1.27 billion, attached to the hotel and property business.

It also includes STC’s mining ventures in China, Australia and Africa and other non-core businesses, but we assume these are negligible.

Again from the balance sheet, STC’s investment properties and properties held for sale were worth about $710 million in total.

We assume these include the hotels, as there are no other large items listed under assets, except for plant, property and equipment, which we assume refer to mining assets.

So Tecity’s offer values the hotel and property business at about 1.8 times its core assets. We haven’t included the segment’s liabilities, so we make a rough guess that it’s valued at twice book value.

To be sure, the above analysis is highly back-of-the-envelope in nature and, published as an analyst’s report, might be sufficient to see this writer out of the door. Nonetheless, let’s see what we can observe.

First, two times book might be expensive now, given faltering interest in real estate. However, many of Rendezvous’ hotel assets are in Australia and China, which are possibly more bullish markets.

Long-term investments

Second, MSC is going through a bad patch but could soar if legal matters clear up. World demand for tin - used not only in plating but also in chemical processes - is growing. China, the world’s largest producer, is also a net importer.

Third, assets may be worth more than recorded. Last year, STC booked a once-off gain of more than $220 million because it revalued its Malaysian properties .

Its long-term investments - which are undisclosed - may also be worth much more. The acquirers, which are major shareholders, almost surely have detailed data on these holdings, which the public does not.

So really, who knows what STC is worth?

CDLHT Q4 Distributable Income Up 83.4%

Source : The Business Times, January 31, 2008

Trust hopes to add Copthorne Orchid to portfolio this year

CDL Hospitality Trusts (CDLHT), the biggest owner of hotel rooms in Singapore, yesterday posted strong Q4 and full-year results.

Distributable income for the quarter ended Dec 31, rose 83.4 per cent from a year before to $22.7 million. CDLHT, a stapled entity, is hoping to acquire this year Copthorne Orchid in the Bukit Timah area from parent Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, the London-listed hotel arm of Singapore property giant City Developments.

CDLHT's plan is to build up its assets over three to five years from about $1.6 billion as at the end of last year to around $3 billion, with increasingly more overseas acquisitions.

'My favourite acquisition markets at the moment are Singapore, Vietnam and India. These are high-octane growth markets,' said Vincent Yeo, CEO of M&C Reit Management.

The company is the manager of CDL Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, which is stapled to CDL Hospitality Business Trust to form CDLHT.

With CDLHT's current gearing ratio (debts-to-assets) only at about 19 per cent, it has debt headroom of $792 million to fund acquisitions before it reaches its self-imposed gearing threshold of 45 per cent.

'Given our strong balance sheet position, we're well placed to seize acquisition opportunities as they present themselves,' Mr Yeo said.

CDLHT has a right of first refusal to buy parent M&C's Singapore hotels. M&C owns the 445-unit Copthorne Orchid at Dunearn Road, as well as a 370-room new hotel being built in the Mohamed Sultan Road vicinity slated for opening in the first quarter of next year.

Mr Yeo indicated that CDLHT would like to acquire Copthorne Orchid this year 'if it's possible'. He reckons the property is worth over $200 million. 'The ball is in M&C's court ... We're waiting to hear from them,' he added.

The trust would acquire the Mohamed Sultan hotel only after it has opened and even then, this is likely to include initial income support if necessary, he said.

Copthorne Orchid had once been earmarked for development into a condo but it now continues to operate as a hotel as there is a shortage of hotel rooms in Singapore.

When CDLHT launched its initial public offer in July 2006, it had four hotels Singapore in its portfolio - Orchard, Grand Copthorne Waterfront, Copthorne King's and M. In June last year, it acquired Novotel Clarke Quay.

Revenue per available room for the four IPO hotels rose 33.5 per cent year-on-year to $195 in Q4 2007. That together with a full quarter's contribution from Rendezvous Hotel Auckland (acquired in December 2006), and the contribution from Novotel Clarke Quay provided the fillip to CDLHT's Q4 distributable income in the fourth quarter. Gross revenue jumped 65.2 per cent to $27.96 million in Q4 last year.

Unit holders will receive a total distribution per unit of 4.61 cents for the July 19-Dec 31 period, which works out to 10.14 cents on an annualised basis, reflecting a distribution yield of 4.97 per cent based on CDLHT's $2.04 closing price yesterday, when the shares ended 8 cents lower.

For the year ended Dec 31, distributable income was $68.7 million, or 75.7 per cent above the trust's forecast. Gross revenue of $90.65 million was also 61.1 per cent ahead of forecast.

Surge In Lease Of Industrial Space, Land

Source : The Straits Times, Feb 1, 2008

BUSINESSES in Singapore leased a record 214,700 sq m of ready-built industrial space and 341ha of land from industrial landlord JTC Corporation last year on the back of strong economic growth.

Figures released by JTC yesterday showed that the net allocation of ready-built space, which includes factory space and business park space, surged 68 per cent from 2006 and easily surpassed the last peak of 179,600 sq m set in 2005.

The jump, said JTC, was due mainly to the increase in the net allocation - space leased less any given up - of all its types of factory space.

Flatted factory space last year was taken up by the companies in the manufacturing and manufacturing-related sectors, which include those in the precision engineering and electronics industries.

The overall occupancy of JTC’s ready-built facilities rose 4.9 percentage points to 92.7 per cent last year.

Net allocation of prepared industrial land - which is land provided with road access and water and sewer mains at its perimeter - also hit a record high of 341ha, a 27 per cent jump from 2006.

The growth in net allocation of land was supported mainly by the chemical sector, which accounted for half of all the industrial land taken up last year.

The occupancy rate for prepared industrial land stood at 89 per cent last year.

S'poreans And Foreigners Gain From Job Boom

Source : The Straits Times, Feb 1 , 2008

THE economy grew so fast last year it created a record-busting 236,600 jobs, with six in 10 of them going to foreigners as there were not enough locals to fill all the openings.

That is up from the 2006 figure of five in 10 jobs going to foreigners.

The Manpower Ministry said in its statement yesterday that both Singaporeans and foreigners gained from the job boom.

The number of new jobs that went to locals rose last year to 92,100, up from 90,900 in 2006.

But foreign employment soared to 144,500 last year.

The services sector was the main engine of growth, adding 144,100 jobs. Most of these were in the financial and professional services. The construction sector grew by 40,900 jobs, double that of the previous year, and manufacturing by 49,400.

At the same time, the overall unemployment rate fell to a 10-year low of 2.1% last year. On average, 56,900 Singaporeans and permanent residents were unemployed last year, down from 67,600 in 2006.

Retrenchment dipped to a 14-year low, with 7,200 workers laid off, the bulk from manufacturing. The ministry said that reflected the ongoing restructuring in the electronics industry.

National University of Singapore labour economist Park Cheolsung said it was unsurprising that in such a buoyant labour market, a larger share of the new jobs went to foreigners.

'The labour market situation is so rosy that most Singaporeans should have jobs if they want to. For many companies, turning to foreigners is the only way they can find workers right now.'

The ministry, which has relaxed foreign worker quotas and hiring requirements in recent years, said the injection of foreigners enabled the economy to 'grow beyond the limits of Singapore's indigenous workforce'.

Singapore registered GDP growth of 7.5% last year.

Foreigners are key to the boom being enjoyed by the construction and marine sectors, where they are taking up posts that Singaporeans find unattractive.

In the shipping industry, workers from Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar are employed as tradesmen - who do work such as welding - as well as technicians and assistant engineers.

Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Employees' Union president Wong Weng Ong said: 'A welder gets $400 to $500 a month. Most Singaporeans won't work for you for less than $1,000.'

An increasing number of foreigners are also working in the services sector, doing jobs that range from waiting on tables to high-end ones in finance, logistics and information technology.

As of December last year, one in three workers here - or 900,800 - were foreigners.

But job growth could moderate this year, economists say. Dr Chua Hak Bin of Citigroup said: 'Already, the global credit crunch has resulted in some retrenchment in certain sectors, such as financial services.'

JTC Appoints Mapletree Investments As Manager Of Its REIT

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 01 February 2008

Mapletree Investments has been appointed by JTC Corporation to set up and manage a proposed real estate investment trust of its properties.

The REIT will acquire some of JTC's high-rise ready-built properties.

These will include flatted factories, ramp-up and stack-up factories, and multi-tenanted business park buildings.

Mapletree was picked from a wide range of submissions made by international and local players.

JTC said all the proposals were evaluated based on individual merit against an objective set of criteria. Mapletree was chosen after a rigorous selection process.

The proposed REIT is targeted for around the middle of 2008, subject to market conditions. - CNA/vm