The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 7th, 8th & 9th May 2016

Top Stories

Heading for SGX this June could be a S$900m Frasers Reit
After much market talk, work seems to finally be underway for Frasers Centrepoint (FCL) to spin off some of its Australian logistics and industrial assets into a real estate investment trust (Reit).  The Reit could be worth S$800 million to S$900 million, and the listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) could be slated for June this year, barring unforeseen circumstances, The Business Times understands.  DBS and Citi are leading the offering as global co-ordinators, with other banks such as OCBC, United Overseas Bank and Morgan Stanley also involved.

S’pore again world’s best spot for infrastructure investment: index
A REPORT has once again named Singapore the world’s most attractive market for infrastructure investors, despite its limited pipeline of opportunities and the fact that most projects here are government funded.  This is because most other factors – including its stable political situation and secure business environment – help create optimum conditions for investment, the firm Arcadis said.  The global design and consultancy company published the Global Infrastructure Investment Index – something it does every two years, ranking 41 countries by their attractiveness to infrastructure investors.

Singapore Economy 

Singapore, Australia seal deal to strengthen economic ties
Singapore and Australia have concluded a landmark agreement to deepen ties which will, among other things, pave the way for Singapore companies to invest A$1 billion in Australian companies without the need for prior government approval.  Investments by companies linked to the Singapore government will still, however, require the greenlight from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).  The agreement builds on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) adopted last June, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Friday.

Skills, will and heart key to country’s success: Lim Swee Say
Low unemployment and sustainable wages in Singapore are results of the “skills, will and heart” of the people, and students should embrace this same spirit for their future, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Friday (6 May).  Speaking at the opening session of Temasek Polytechnic’s 26th Graduation Ceremony, he said: “If there is a global league for jobs, skills and employment, Singapore would be ranked high up there.”  Mr Lim added that SkillsFuture is an example of how the government is taking steps to improve an already skilled workforce, and encouraged graduands to do the same and never stop upgrading their skills.

Singapore Real Estate

MBS operator open to selling mall when exclusivity expires next year
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) could be put up for sale by owner Las Vegas Sands (LVS) after the expiry of a government-imposed moratorium next year if, among other things, it gets the green light from Singapore.  LVS chairman Sheldon Adelson, in the company’s first-quarter earnings call last month, had mentioned that he is considering selling the integrated resort’s (IR) 800,000 sq ft luxury mall after a 10-year duopoly expires next year.

Developers still gloomy about prospects
Developer sentiment remains weak, according to the latest NUS-Redas Real Estate Sentiment Index, with the composite sentiment index remaining below 5.  The index (which is a derived indicator for the overall real estate market sentiment in Singapore) inched up to 3.8 in the first quarter from 3.5 in Q4 last year. Correspondingly, the current sentiment index rose to 3.9 from 3.6, and the future sentiment index climbed to 3.6 from 3.4.  A score below 5 indicates deteriorating market conditions while a reading above 5 indicates improving conditions.

Keppel Club offered new sites, but no golf facilities
As Keppel Club prepares for life after 2021 – when it will have to vacate its current home – it has been offered three alternative sites in Singapore, but no golf facilities.  It is exploring golf options just outside of Singapore shores – including in Batam – for its members and mulling over some tempting alliances and locations here. This includes a tie-up with Hollandse Club in Adam Road.  Among the sites that Keppel Club has been offered is a 2ha land parcel at Seletar Aerospace Park that comes with a historic conservation building that served as the camp commandant’s office when the Singapore Armed Forces took over from the British in 1971.

Gain City uses downturn to fortify market position
Downsizing, cutting down on showroom space, pruning product ranges on offer: These are what many retailers are doing as high rentals, dwindling footfall and rising staff costs continue to bite into profits.  But not all of them. Seemingly unfazed by industry headwinds, home-grown consumer electronics retailer Gain City Best-Electric is taking advantage of the tough business climate to strengthen its foundations and expand tactically to position itself in the market for the long haul. Sounds like a complex strategy at play? Not really. It is simple and straightforward.

Bugis Street Online out to make a difference
Make a difference – that is entrepreneur Ivan Loh’s mantra when it comes to business.  It is also one of the guiding principles behind Bugis Street Online, an e-commerce platform enabling vendors from Bugis Street, and other local small-time businesses, to sell their wares on the Internet.  Bugis Street Online, a subsidiary of the Bugis Street management, is slated to make its official debut by the end of June.  Mr Loh, 37, who is chief executive of the firm, told The Straits Times in a recent interview that the platform aims to help local shops stay afloat in the cut-throat retail industry.  “Consumer behaviour is changing, so the way our retailers do business has to change too,” said Mr Loh, noting that foot traffic for retail worldwide has been decreasing even as costs continue to rise.

Companies’ Brief

Frasers Hospitality Trust buys German hotel for 58.4m euros
The manager of Frasers Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust on Friday said the trust will acquire Germany’s Maritim Hotel Dresden for 58.4 million euros (S$90.6 million). This is Frasers Hospitality Trust’s first hospitality asset in Germany as well as its first acquisition from a third party.  Maritim Hotel Dresden is a freehold, 328-room hotel located in the city centre of Dresden, the capital of the eastern German state of Saxony. It is a heritage-listed building converted from a preserved grain warehouse in 2006. The hotel adjoins the Dresden International Congress Centre, the trust said.

Wing Tai’s revenue hurt by slowing sales
Regional property developer Wing Tai Holdings saw its takings hit by slowing sales of its property units.  Its revenue for the third quarter was down 35 per cent to S$113.0 million, from S$174.1 million a year ago.  Revenue for the nine-month period ended March 31, 2016, was down 12 per cent to S$403.8 million, from S$460.8 million the year before.  Wing Tai said the revenue for the period was mainly attributable to the progressive sales recognised from its development, The Tembusu, and the additional units sold in another development, Le Nouvel Ardmore – both in Singapore – as well as its development in China, The Lakeview.

OUE H-Trust’s DPS hit by rights issue
OUE Hospitality Trust (OUE H-Trust) warned of challenging times in the tourism industry, as it reported on Friday a lower distribution for its first quarter, dragged lower by its recent rights issue.  It said distribution per stapled security (DPS) fell 31.7 per cent in the first quarter from a year ago to 1.1 Singapore cents, compared with 1.61 Singapore cents in the same period a year ago.  Excluding the rights issue, DPS in the first quarter of the year would have been 1.47 Singapore cents, down 8.7 per cent.

Bonvests divests properties
Mainboard-listed Bonvests Holdings on Friday announced that its subsidiary, Essential Investments, has entered into an agreement to sell two retail shop units for a total consideration of approximately S$13.7 million.  The two units located at 220 Orchard Road, Midpoint Orchard, #B1-10 and #B1-11 will be sold to Chu Chee Keong.
Bonvests Holdings also announced earlier on Friday that its subsidiary, Bon-Food, has entered an agreement to sell a leasehold unit at Tampines for S$14.55 million.

Property developer GSH tips back into the black
Property developer GSH Corporation reversed back into the black in the first quarter, boosted by higher revenue and a large gain in the fair value of financial derivatives.  For the three months ended Mar 31, the group recorded a net profit of S$2.8 million, compared with a loss of S$363,000 a year ago.  Revenue grew 64 per cent to S$23.5 million.  GSH registered an unrealised gain of S$12.4 million in the fair value of financial derivatives in the quarter, compared with S$434,000 the same period last year. This, the group explained, was because of a hedge it had entered into for a loan and deposit arrangement with foreign exchange exposure.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Developers should be made liable for negligence by subcontractors
A recent case brought by The Sea View condominium’s managing body against the property’s developer wheelock Properties, its architect and its main contractor, the court ruled that the three defendants can claim they were not liable for the negligence of the independent contractors they engaged.  This means the damages claimable could be limited.

Over 300 attend first day of Property Seminar & Showcase 2016 for insights in uncertain market
The first day of the Property Seminar & Showcase 2016, presented by SPH Digital, was headlined by a talk given by PropNex Realty CEO Mohamed Ismail Gafoor, who shared key insights amid the current uncertainty in the property market.  He said property owners or investors can take the opportunity to reorganise their portfolio, and evaluate their existing properties’ potential over the next five to 10 years based on factors such as rental yield, potential capital appreciation and master plan rejuvenation.

Building a pro-cycling city
When the Sports Hub opened two years ago, cyclists were befuddled by the total absence of bicycle racks on the premises.  Here was a $1.33 billion state-of-the-art sports facility that was issuing warnings to cyclists who had no choice but to park their bicycles illegally.  It took some months, after media reports brought the irony of the situation to light, for bicycle parking to be provided on the 35ha complex.  The new Walking and Cycling Plan (WCP) that building developers have to submit will prevent future situations like this.

Tweak property policies to reduce household debt
Dr George Wong Seow Choon’s letter (“Act now to adjust to brave new world”; last Wednesday) is a reminder to adjust to the new world.  For the next decade, one has to anticipate the impact of disruptive changes, such as climate change, technological advancement and negative interest rates.  It is evident that past perceptions of growth momentum created by emerging markets, commodities like oil, labour migration and globalisation must be re-evaluated.  In future, global economic cycles will be shorter and more abrupt, driven by domestic and external factors within developed and emerging economies.

Global Economy & Global Real Estate  

Seven Over-the-Top Equestrian Estates Across America

‘Go small’ approach helps boost Oxley’s home sales in Cambodia

Japan quake victims face temporary housing woes

Housing is top priority for London’s next mayor

Rising London home prices hurting Bank of Mum & Dad

Moscow’s avant-garde buildings under demolition threat

Economic risks rising in central Europe: IMF

China’s yuan policy holds out hope for HK retailers

MGM China Q1 revenue falls 25%; casino may miss opening deadline

Asia’s push to take SMEs global

Additional Articles of Interests – Local & Overseas Real Estate

Local & Overseas Real Estate – Full Article

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