FCL may list Reit with Aussie assets

It could be backed by Australand, industrial properties and seek to raise $500m: Report

Property firm Frasers Centrepoint (FCL) is exploring the possible listing of a real estate investment trust (Reit) on the Singapore Exchange with its assets, which include Australian industrial assets.

The firm made the statement in response to a Bloomberg report that it could float units in the Reit, backed by its Australand office and industrial properties, as early as this year.

It could seek to raise at least $500 million, the report said, citing market sources.

In a statement, FCL said such a listing was one of the "various strategic options available to the company to optimise and unlock value from its assets".

It added that no decision had been made yet.

FCL is sponsor and manager of two Singapore-listed Reits, mall-focused Frasers Centrepoint Trust and office-focused Frasers Commercial Trust; as well as stapled trust Frasers Hospitality Trust, which is also listed here.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • REVENUE $671.6 million (-37.4%)

    NET PROFIT $98.7 million (-47.2%)

The company acquired Australand in 2014 and it was rebranded as Frasers Property Australia (FPA) in August last year.

FCL group chief executive Lim Ee Seng said in November that assets from FPA's retail business unit, launched late last year, could eventually be injected into Frasers Centrepoint Trust.

A Reit with its other property asset classes in Australia could thus make sense.

FPA's investment portfolio at Dec 31 was valued at $2.6 billion: $1.6 billion in industrial assets and $1 billion in office assets.

Separately, FCL reported yesterday a 47.2 per cent drop in first-quarter earnings to $98.7 million, on the back of lower earnings from its development portfolio in Singapore, China and Australia.

Revenue fell 37.4 per cent to $671.6 million for the three months to Dec 31.

Revenue from its commercial properties rose 2 per cent to $104 million, while revenue from development properties fell 70 per cent to $47 million.

Revenue from hospitality rose 76 per cent to $213 million and revenue from FPA fell 56 per cent to $305 million.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Lim attributed the weaker results to timing differences.

"Revenue recognition for overseas development projects are on a completion basis and hence inherently lumpy," he said.

"When there is a high level of completions, earnings for that particular quarter will shoot up. If the level of completions for the same period next year is not as high, earnings will go down because of the high base."

In Singapore, the weaker performance was due to market conditions, Mr Lim added.

"(Australand) was a good acquisition for FCL and made up a lot for the slack we are experiencing in Singapore. Had we not gone for Australand, FCL's results would be quite different," he said.

Earnings per share was 3.12 cents, down from 4.81 cents a year back, while net asset value was $2.28 at Dec 31, up from $2.25 at Sept 30.

FCL shares closed seven cents lower at $1.615 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'FCL may list Reit with Aussie assets'. Print Edition | Subscribe