Sabana Reit manager to meet unit holders

The trust manager of Sabana Shariah-compliant Reit has moved quickly to placate investors after a small group of unit holders began a campaign to get it fired.

Sabana Real Estate Investment Management chief executive Kevin Xayaraj yesterday told the media that he has reached out to the unhappy unit holders and made plans to meet them soon.

He defended the manager's performance, noting that the price of units in the industrial Reit had held up "relatively well" in the first three years after its initial public offering (IPO), before its master leases started to expire at the end of 2013.

"It was only in the last three years that we had quite a number of leases that were not renewed, and many of them were converted into multi-tenanted leases. To find suitable, qualified anchor tenants, there are just not enough to go round in Singapore right now," he said over the phone.

"There is a mismatch in supply and demand in the current economic slowdown, that explains why our distribution per unit (DPU) has been on the decline for the last three years."

To stabilise the DPU, the Reit manager will continue to divest underperforming assets. It is in the process of divesting a warehouse-cum-office building at 218 Pandan Loop, which will be sold for a gain, Mr Xayaraj added.

He emphasised that the manager's fee structure is "in line with market practice in the Singapore Reit sector", and offered another perspective on the recently completed rights issue: "Certainly the rights issue has strengthened our balance sheet. It was a great success, and two times subscribed. Even better than our IPO subscription."

Asked how Sabana Real Estate Investment Management would act if unit holders decided to press on with requesting a meeting to vote on its removal, Mr Xayaraj said: "We will comply with the relevant rules and regulations, and if it ends up in (extraordinary general meeting) voting, then all unit holders are entitled to exercise their voting rights."

The Reit manager would exercise its votes as well, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2017, with the headline 'Sabana Reit manager to meet unit holders'. Print Edition | Subscribe