Major shareholder calls UIC's offer for SingLand 'too low'

One of the largest investors in mainboard-listed Singapore Land is opposing a takeover of the property developer by United Industrial Corporation (UIC).

Investment fund Silchester International Investors, which holds 8.16 per cent of SingLand shares, said in a statement on Monday that UIC's offer was "too low". It is the second biggest shareholder in the firm.

It added that an independent financial adviser who had called the offer "fair and reasonable" in March should have considered more factors.

UIC, which already owns 80.36 per cent of SingLand, offered $9.40 apiece in February for the rest, which works out to $761 million in total. It wants to delist SingLand.

The offer got the thumbs-up in March from an independent financial adviser ANZ, who said it was "fair and reasonable".

However, Silchester disagreed, saying that the independent financial adviser should also have evaluated the commercial opportunities of the underlying business.

It added that if it does not see a "full and fair offer" by UIC for SingLand shares, it may sell part of its client's holdings such that its stake falls below 5 per cent, it said.

"This is likely to significantly impair the efforts of UIC to delist the company. Taking thse steps helps to safeguard part of our client's interests."

In Singapore, shareholders that own more than 5 per cent of a company are considered substantial shareholders and not part of the public float.

If Silchester's stake falls below 5 per cent, its shareholding percentage will get added to SingLand's public float. UIC needs the public float to fall below 10 per cent before it can take SingLand private.

SingLand owns Singapore Land Tower, Clifford Centre in Raffles Place and about 280,000 sq ft at SGX Centre in Shenton Way. It also owns The Gateway in Beach Road and Abacus and Tampines Plaza in Tampines Central.

Its shares closed flat at $9.43 on Monday. UIC's offer is due to close on April 7.

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