Suntec stake still making money for City Harvest

City Harvest Church might be reeling from last week's verdict when six of its leaders were found guilty of misappropriating $50 million of church funds, but its investment in Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre is still making money.

The church owns a 39.2 per cent stake in Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre. It used to be a pure convention business, separate from the retail arm Suntec City, but with the refurbishment, the convention centre also added on a retail portion that has anchor tenants such as fashion stores H&M and Uniqlo.

Suntec Singapore's third quarter announcement this year states that its revenue for the period was $23.1 million, a 35.3 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.

Of that, $16.8 million came from the convention business and $6.3 million from retail.

The positive performance comes on the back of sustained growth.

Last November, The Straits Times calculated that City Harvest earned a paper profit of about $162 million over five years and its stake there was worth about $260 million.

The value of this property has also been reported to have nearly tripled after refurbishment works were completed in 2013.

The church first got involved with Suntec Singapore in 2010, when its wholly owned subsidiary, Urban Property Investments Limited, acquired a 20 per cent effective shareholding in Suntec Singapore for a total of $43.8 million.

Two years later, it took up another 19.2 per cent stake for $54 million. In total, the church spent $97.8 million on its stake in the property.

The remaining 60.8 per cent effective shareholding is held by Suntec Harmony, a wholly owned subsidiary of Suntec Reit.

Natasha Ann Zachariah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'Suntec stake still making money for City Harvest'. Print Edition | Subscribe