Lotte Shopping postpones $1.25b Singapore Reit listing

A pedestrian walks past the logo of Lotte Shopping Co. department store in Seoul, South Korea, on Oct. 23, 2007. Lotte Shopping Co said it is postponing the listing of an up to US$1 billion (S$1.25 billion) real estate investment trust in Singapore,
A pedestrian walks past the logo of Lotte Shopping Co. department store in Seoul, South Korea, on Oct. 23, 2007. Lotte Shopping Co said it is postponing the listing of an up to US$1 billion (S$1.25 billion) real estate investment trust in Singapore, underscoring lacklustre appetite for initial public offerings (IPOs) in the city state. -- FILE PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Lotte Shopping Co said it is postponing the listing of an up to US$1 billion (S$1.25 billion) real estate investment trust in Singapore, underscoring lacklustre appetite for initial public offerings (IPOs) in the city state.

The operator of South Korea's largest department store chain said in a regulatory filing it may reconsider the option if global financial market conditions improve, but is currently looking at a sale and lease back deal through a local public real estate fund as an alternative.

Singapore's IPO market has struggled in recent years. Most big-ticket listings in Asia opt for Hong Kong where there is more robust demand from Chinese and international investors.

IPO deals in Singapore so far this year have had a slow start, just US$773.6 million compared to US$2.46 billion for the same period last year.

A downturn in global equity markets also helped scupper at least one other Asian IPO last month - a Hong Kong listing for pork giant WH Group's, even after it cut the offer size by two-thirds to up to US$1.9 billion.

WH Group's IPO had also suffered from rich valuations and negative publicity over executive compensation.

The marketing for the Lotte IPO had been delayed as concerns about economic growth in China and other emerging markets triggered a sell-off in riskier assets, reducing investor appetite for emerging markets.

Lotte had been pursuing the listing to improve its financial structure and utilize funds for its business operations in South Korea and abroad.