Canada's Manulife to delay Singapore Reit listing due to market conditions

Manulife Centre in Bras Basah.
Manulife Centre in Bras Basah. PHOTO: MANULIFE SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - Canada's Manulife Financial Corp said on Monday it was delaying a plan to raise US$421 million (S$568 million) through a Singapore listing of a real estate investment trust (REIT), citing unfavourable market conditions.

Manulife was looking to sell 694.4 million units, including cornerstone units, at 82 cents each, which would have made the initial public offering Singapore's biggest in a year.

"In light of increased volatility in the equity capital market, the IPO of Manulife US Real Estate Investment Trust (Manulife US REIT) has been delayed," Manulife said in a statement. "Depending on market conditions, the IPO is expected to proceed at a later date," it added.

The statement follows a Thomson Reuters IFR report that said demand for the IPO did not materialise amid the debt crisis in Greece.

The weekend Greece result could have added to the reason for Manulife to pull out their IPO," said Nicholas Teo, a Singapore-based strategist at CMC Markets. "The vote hasn't solved any problems, it's just added to the uncertainty."

Cornerstone investors in the IPO included Oman Investment Fund, Fortress Capital Asset Management and Nikko Asset Management Asia Ltd., according to the prospectus. The REIT was backed by three office properties in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Orange County, California.

DBS Group Holdings and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were managing the offer.