Sim Lian Group buys 5 shopping centres in Eastern Australia for $152 million

Mainboard-listed Sim Lian Group today expanded its regional footprint with the acquisition of five investment-grade neighbourhood shopping centres in Eastern Australia for A$133 million (S$152 million).

The properties have a total gross lettable area (GLA) of some 28,875 square metres. They are strategically-located neighbourhood shopping centres that serve the daily shopping needs of the immediate and growing catchment populations.

The purchase also includes land of about 4.8 hectares adjoining the shopping centres at Tarneit and Lake Munmorah, providing Sim Lian with future development and expansion opportunities.

The portfolio was acquired through an off-market transaction from Fabcot, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Woolworths - Australia's largest supermarket chain with more than 800 stores across the country.

"This acquisition is a milestone in Sim Lian Group's journey of driving diversification across the region and investment portfolio," said Sim Lian executive director Kuik Sing Beng in a statement.

"It represents our entry into the Australian shopping centre market and we are confident that it will further enhance the quality, diversity and income profile of our investment portfolio."

Each of the shopping centres is anchored by a full line Woolworths supermarket as the major anchor tenant occupying about 71 per cent of the portfolio's total GLA.

The lease-back arrangement for the Woolsworths supermarkets in the portfolio averages 28 years.

Other retail leases include specialty tenancies offering non-discretionary shopping options such as food and beverages, pharmacies and news agencies.

The latest deal is Sim Lian's second Australian acquisition. In September 2013, the group acquired a prime freehold commercial development located in the heart of Sydney's financial precinct and the development is poised to benefit from an upcoming waterfront redevelopment project in its vicinity.

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