Blackstone said to put Sime Darby Singapore property on sale

Blackstone Group expects to fetch about S$300 million for the Sime Darby Centre in the Bukit Timah area.
Blackstone Group expects to fetch about S$300 million for the Sime Darby Centre in the Bukit Timah area.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Blackstone Group plans to sell one of the office and retail assets it acquired last year from Malaysian palm-oil producer Sime Darby, according to people familiar with the matter.

The New York-based private equity firm expects to fetch about S$300 million for the Sime Darby Centre in the Bukit Timah area, which it bought for just under S$200 million, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn't public. CBRE Group is advising Blackstone on the sale, the people said, without identifying any of the prospective buyers.

Blackstone in May acquired a majority stake in three Singapore property assets, including the Sime Darby Centre, in a deal that valued them at about S$300 million. Located in an aging commercial block on Dunearn Road, a residential artery lined with upmarket condominiums, the Sime Darby Centre is spread across 250,000 square feet of which about 80 percent is office space and the rest is retail.

Charlotte Bilney, a spokesman for Blackstone, declined to comment.

Blackstone owns a 70 per cent stake in the Sime Darby Centre and Sime owns the rest. The conglomerate, Malaysia's biggest listed palm-oil producer, sold some property assets in Australia and Singapore to help pare debt.

The site could attract bids from large and mid-sized Singapore developers including Far East Organisation, City Developments, Frasers Centrepoint and United Industrial Corp, one of the people said. Representatives at the companies didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Blackstone, which manages more than US$100 billion (S$141 billion) in real estate assets worldwide, in the past has bought residential apartment blocks in Singapore's prime area. The firm did a deal with City Developments in 2014 to take part in a financing for a luxury hotel, retail and residential development on Sentosa island.

Recently, it was shortlisted as of one the bidders for acquiring Global Logistic Properties, the US$9 billion warehouse operator backed by Singapore's sovereign fund.