Keppel-KBS US Reit prices IPO at 88 US cents

Keppel-KBS US Reit, sponsored jointly by Keppel Capital and KBS Pacific Advisors, is issuing 262.77 million units at US$0.88 apiece in an initial public offering (IPO).

Separately, the sponsors - which jointly own the Reit manager - are subscribing for some 119.43 million units while cornerstone investors have agreed to subscribe for 246.37 million units at the offer price.

These cornerstone investors are Affin Hwang Asset Management, Hillsboro Capital and DBS Bank, as well as certain private banking clients of Credit Suisse and DBS Bank, the preliminary IPO prospectus shows.

The over-allotment option will not exceed 12 per cent of the number of units to be issued under the placement and public offer tranche.

The proportion of placement and public offer tranche is not fixed yet.

Keppel-KBS US Reit said that it is expected to raise gross proceeds of about US$553.1 million (S$753.9 million) from this whole exercise.

The public offer opens next Thursday and closes on Nov 7.

Trading of units on the Singapore Exchange is expected to begin on Nov 9.

With an attractive distribution yield and total return, the Reit's distribution yield for next year is estimated to be 6.8 per cent, with expected distribution yield growth of 5.8 per cent for 2019, reflecting a total return of 12.6 per cent.

Some 79.5 per cent and 75.2 per cent of cash rental income for next year and 2019 respectively are derived from existing leases.

At least three-quarters of interest expense will be hedged.

The initial portfolio of Keppel-KBS US Reit will comprise 11 freehold office properties in the US worth US$804 million, with an aggregate net lettable area (NLA) of 3.23 million sq ft.

These properties are in Seattle and Sacramento on the West Coast; Denver, Austin and Houston in the central region; as well as Atlanta and Orlando in the East Coast.

They have a stable weighted average lease expiry by NLA of 3.7 years as at June 30, with below-market average rents for expiring leases.

"This offers the opportunity to lease expiring space at potentially higher market rent rates," Keppel-KBS US Reit said.

No single year has more than 20 per cent of total leases expiring.

Upon listing, Keppel-KBS US Reit will also have an aggregate leverage of 36 per cent and average debt tenure of 4.5 years, providing debt headroom of some US$131.6 million to fund future growth.

To enjoy tax transparency under US taxation rules, no single unit holder of the US Reit will hold more than 9.8 per cent of the outstanding units.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline 'Keppel-KBS US Reit prices IPO at 88 US cents'. Print Edition | Subscribe