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    823   HK0823032773

THE LINK REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST

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Delayed Hong Kong Stock Exchange  -  03:08:12 2023-02-07 am EST
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Exclusive-Link REIT is frontrunner to buy Singapore shopping malls - sources

11/28/2022 | 04:08am EST

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Link Real Estate Investment Trust, Asia's biggest REIT, has emerged as the frontrunner to buy a portfolio of assets from Singapore shopping mall owner NTUC Enterprise Co-operative Ltd, multiple sources told Reuters on Monday.

Acquisition of the assets in what would be Southeast Asia's biggest real estate transaction of 2022 could boost Link REIT's valuations, analysts have said.

The deal value has been trimmed to about S$2.5 billion ($1.8 billion) from roughly S$3 billion after one more of the Singapore assets was removed from the proposed sale, said two of the sources, who did not wish to be identified due to the confidentiality of the matter.

Reuters reported last month that Mercatus Co-operative Ltd, an NTUC unit managing the assets and exploring options for the possible sale, had removed at least one asset from it.

On Monday sources said the winning bidder could be announced in a few weeks. If Link REIT does buy, the assets will be its first in Singapore.

The assets to be sold by NTUC include retail malls Jurong Point and Swing By @ Thomson Plaza, the sources said.

Mercatus and Hong Kong-listed Link REIT declined to comment on the matter.

A successful sale, even after the offered portfolio has been further trimmed, would still rank ahead of all other property deals in Southeast Asia this year, Refinitiv data showed.

CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust (CICT), part of Singapore-based CapitaLand Investment Ltd, and Frasers Property, part of Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's group, have also been in the fray to buy the assets.

Frasers Property declined to comment to Reuters while CICT did not respond to a request seeking comment.

Sources said potential buyers for the assets, called a prized retail portfolio by analysts and first offered about six months ago, had turned cautious because of a sharp rise in interest rates and a worsening outlook for economic growth.

Link REIT's market value of $14 billion is the largest in Asia. The many assets that it owns and manages include retail properties, car parks and offices. Nearly three-quarters of its portfolio value is in Hong Kong. It has also expanded into mainland China, Australia and Britain.

"If Link REIT turns out on top, we believe that investors will reward Link REIT with higher valuations, given its pivot back to retail, while improving the overall resilience of its earnings profile," DBS analysts said in a report in August.

Link REIT has been on the prowl for assets in Singapore and other countries to diversify its portfolio.

"While this portfolio will represent Link REIT's first foray into Singapore, the pivot to more retail exposure is expected to be positive overall, as Link REIT has significant scale and expertise managing such assets in Hong Kong," DBS analysts said.

Last week, Singapore projected growth in its gross domestic product would slow to between 0.5% and 2.5% next year, down from about 3.5% this year because of persistent inflation and weak demand.

($1 = 1.3768 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

By Anshuman Daga and Yantoultra Ngui


ę Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CAPITALAND INTEGRATED COMMERCIAL TRUST -0.95% 2.09 Delayed Quote.3.43%
CAPITALAND INVESTMENT LIMITED -1.01% 3.94 Delayed Quote.7.57%
FRASERS PROPERTY LIMITED 0.00% 0.9 Delayed Quote.-3.23%
MSCI SINGAPORE (GDTR) -0.61% 5900.94 Real-time Quote.6.76%
THAI BEVERAGE 0.00% 0.69 Delayed Quote.0.00%
THE LINK REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST -0.48% 62.6 Delayed Quote.9.77%
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Analyst Recommendations on THE LINK REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST
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Financials
Sales 2023 12 268 M 1 563 M 1 563 M
Net income 2023 6 938 M 884 M 884 M
Net Debt 2023 52 549 M 6 697 M 6 697 M
P/E ratio 2023 20,4x
Yield 2023 4,91%
Capitalization 134 B 17 060 M 17 060 M
EV / Sales 2023 15,2x
EV / Sales 2024 14,4x
Nbr of Employees 1 200
Free-Float 98,9%
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 16
Last Close Price 62,90 HKD
Average target price 67,13 HKD
Spread / Average Target 6,73%
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Managers and Directors
Kwok Lung Hongchoy Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Kok Siong Ng Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
Nicholas Charles Allen Independent Non-Executive Chairman
Greg Chubb Chief Operating Officer
Suk Han Chan Chief Investment Officer