Mapletree closes student hostel trust

Properties in the Mapletree Global Student Accommodation Private Trust include Hawley Crescent (left), which is close to universities in London such as Imperial College and University College London.
Properties in the Mapletree Global Student Accommodation Private Trust include Hawley Crescent (left), which is close to universities in London such as Imperial College and University College London.PHOTO: MAPLETREE

Close to $750m raised for private trust focused on Britain and US

After a successful fund-raising exercise, Mapletree has closed a private property trust focusing on student hostel assets, the first of its kind in Singapore.

Some US$535 million (S$748 million) worth of equity was raised for the Mapletree Global Student Accommodation Private Trust, which will yield its income from a portfolio of 35 student accommodation properties across the United States and Britain.

Mapletree said in an announcement yesterday that it will hold a 35 per cent stake in the trust. Other investors include Great Eastern, DBS Bank and UBS, which are investing for their high net worth clients.

The trust, managed by a Mapletree subsidiary, marks the sixth private-equity real estate fund managed by the property group, which also manages four Singapore-listed real estate investment trusts.

The return will be distributed twice a year, based on principles similar to those of a Reit.

"Investors will be able to reap strong returns from an asset class proven to be relatively anti-cyclical in nature, with the pursuit of higher education growing even during economic downturns. The US and Britain… are key beneficiaries of this trend," Mapletree chief executive Hiew Yoon Khong said.

The trust's portfolio has more than 14,000 beds spread across 22 cities in the two countries.

The total number includes 1,225 beds at Lofts at City Centre serving the University of Alabama, and 899 beds at Capstone Cottages of San Marcos, Texas State University.

In Britain, the trust has assets serving students at institutions such as the University of Glasgow, University of Manchester, Oxford, Imperial College and University College London.

Mr Hiew added that the decision not to have the trust listed on the stock market was based on cost efficiency.

"Opting for the private track also allowed us to bring the product to market quickly, and is more cost-effective to set up and operate on an ongoing basis, without the lengthy process to launch an (initial public offering) and the increasing compliance costs to maintain a Reit," he said.

Mapletree separately has exposure to office, commercial, industrial and residential properties, scattered across 12 countries or regions.

Its notable Singapore assets include retail mall VivoCity, office tower Mapletree Anson and the Mapletree Business City.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Mapletree closes student hostel trust'. Print Edition | Subscribe