The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 9th November 2016

Top Stories

Resale condo prices in October down 0.7%: SRX
Resale prices of non-landed private homes slipped a steeper 0.7 per cent in October after a 0.6 per cent decline in September, the flash estimate from SRX Property shows.  The main drag came from the suburban area or the Outside Central Region, where resale prices fell 2 per cent, followed by a 0.8 per cent drop in the prime area or Core Central Region (CCR).  On the other hand, resale prices in the city fringe or Rest of Central Region (RCR) recorded an increase of 1.5 per cent during the month.  SRX Property data shows that resale prices of condominiums are now 8.5 per cent below the recent peak in January 2014 and 1.1 per cent lower than a year ago.

ARA founder leads consortium in buyout at 26% premium
ARA Asset Management Ltd group founder and chief executive officer John Lim is leading a consortium that includes Cheung Kong Property and Straits Trading Company to take the group private at S$1.78 a share.  Teaming up with them in the buyout through a scheme of arrangement are US private equity firm Warburg Pincus and AVIC Trust Co, a unit of the Shanghai-listed AVIC Capital Co.  The consortium said that the move would enable ARA to leverage the networks of its new strategic partners and gain greater access to capital as it scales up its business.  The scheme also offers shareholders the chance to realise their investment in the stock, whose historical trading liquidity has been low.

IOI surprises market with record land bid
Malaysian plantation and real-estate tycoon Lee Shin Cheng has surprised the market with a bullish top bid of nearly S$2.57 billion or S$1,689 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) for a white site in Central Boulevard.  The bid from IOI Properties Group is the highest in absolute dollar quantum as well as by psf ppr for a Government Land Sale (GLS) site in Singapore. The tender drew seven bids. IOI’s bid was 16.4 per cent higher than that of its closest competitor, Temasek-owned Mapletree Investments, which offered S$1,451 psf ppr.  Nanshan Group, which The Business Times had earlier identified as the party that triggered the 99-year leasehold site’s release from the government reserve list, bid S$1,438 psf ppr for the 1.1-ha site.

Singapore Economy

Tourism spend gets a Q2 shot in the arm
It looks like the big spenders breezed into town, especially in the second quarter, sending first-half tourism spend by in-bound visitors up 12 per cent to S$11.6 billion year on year.  Visitor arrivals rose 13 per cent to 8.2 million, bolstered partly by a 55 per cent surge in visitors from China, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). China is now the biggest source market for Singapore, overtaking Indonesia.  STB said: “There has been a shift in our visitors’ profile and in their spending patterns for some of our top source markets. Increasingly, we are seeing more visitors from major cities in markets such as India, Australia and Indonesia, who have a higher propensity to spend.” In particular, these travellers are splashing out on fashion accessories, wellness products, souvenirs, gifts and confectionery.

M&S to shut 80 stores; those in S’pore not affected
Britain’s Marks & Spencer plans to shut more than 80 stores at home and abroad at a cost of up to £550 million (S$950 million) as its new boss tries to revive the retailer by shifting its focus more towards food than fashion.  However, stores in Singapore are unaffected by the move.  “Customers can continue to shop at our 10 stores in Singapore. Working together with our longstanding franchise partner Robinsons, part of the Al-Futtaim Group, we will focus on improving our customers’ experience and driving profitability,” said Mr James Harvey, head of international franchise at M&S.

Singapore Real Estate

Upgrade more ageing flats? Govt must do sums carefully
The Government’s fiscal position and budget have to be carefully considered when deciding whether to expand the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in Parliament yesterday.  He was responding to Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) who had asked whether the scheme, which upgrades ageing flats, can be extended to units built after 1986 when they become 30 years old.  The scheme, introduced in 2007, applies only to flats built up to 1986 and which have not undergone the Main Upgrading Programme.

Impact of North-South Corridor on Ellison Building ‘will be minimised’
Back before Rex Cinema and Ellison Building in the Selegie Road area were gazetted for conservation in 2008, planners of the North-South transport corridor already saw that construction would affect those buildings.  But government agencies decided to conduct engineering studies to further reduce the corridor’s impact on the two buildings with heritage value, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) went ahead and gazetted them.

Companies’ Brief

ARA’s Q3 net profit soars 84% to S$31.5m
ARA Asset Management Limited’s net profit surged 84 per cent to S$31.47 million for the third quarter ended Sept 30, thanks to higher management fees, finance income, as well as share of profit of associates and joint ventures.  Total revenue grew 39 per cent from a year ago to S$52.98 million.  Management fees, the largest income source of the real estate fund manager, rose 5 per cent from a year ago to S$34.74 million during the quarter.

Chip Eng Seng’s Q3 profit hurt by lower property development revenues
Chip Eng Seng Corporation turned in a poorer showing for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2016, hurt by lower takings from its property development division.  The construction and property group said its revenue for the quarter fell 4.2 per cent to S$151.8 million, from S$158.4 million the year before.  This was due mainly to a 13.7 per cent drop in revenue from its property developments division to S$68.0 million. Chip Eng Seng said this was because of lower revenue contributions from its Junction Nine and Nine Residences.

Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management gets new CEO
Commercial real estate investment trust manager Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management (Commercial) Ltd (FCAMCL) has announced the appointment of a new chief executive.  Low Chee Wah will step down as chief executive of the real estate trust manager with effect from Dec 31, 2016.  He will be replaced by Jack Lam who will be appointed as CEO-designate with immediate effect. Mr Lam will assume the CEO office on Jan 1, 2017.

Perennial Real Estate Q3 profit slumps 91%, revenue surges
Real estate and China healthcare company Perennial Real Estate Holdings borrowed more heavily in its fiscal third quarter as earnings plunged, despite a jump in revenue that came largely on the back of strata sales at the TripleOne Somerset commercial property in Singapore.  Higher interest expenses, incurred as “more loans were taken to finance new investments which would provide the group with new stream of income and cashflows in the near future”, ate away at the bottomline along with the absence of a one-off investment income booked the previous year, the group said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Tuesday evening.

Global Premium unit buys Tasmania hotel for A$7.2m
Global Premium Hotels (GPH) announced after trading hours on Tuesday the acquisition of a hotel property in Australia’s Tasmania state for A$7.2 million (S$7.7 million) through a newly incorporated subsidiary.  The hotel group said that its new subsidiary, GP Hotel Launceston TAS Pty Ltd has entered into a sale and purchase agreement to buy Clarion Hotel City Park Grand in Launceston’s central business district.

CapitaLand’s Q3 net profit up 28.4%
CapitaLand reported on Wednesday that its net profit for the third quarter ended September 30, 2016 rose 28.4 per cent to S$247.5 million, compared to S$192.7 million a year ago, thanks to improvement in its business.  Revenue was up 27.7 per cent to S$1.4 billion, from S$1.1 billion previously. The improvement came on the back of higher contributions from residential projects in Singapore and China, as well as higher rental income from its commercial portfolio in Singapore and serviced residence business. The residential projects which contributed to higher revenue in the quarter included The Nassim and Cairnhill Nine in Singapore, Riverfront in Hangzhou, New Horizon in Shanghai and Vermont Hills in Beijing.

CapitaLand appoints investment banker Andrew Lim as CFO
CapitaLand has appointed investment banker Andrew Lim as group chief financial officer effective Jan 1, 2017.  He will succeed Arthur Lang who joined the group in August 2011. Mr Lang tendered his resignation as group CFO to pursue other career interests and his last day of service at the group is Dec 31, 2016.  “Arthur has played an instrumental role in several transformation transactions for the group,” said CapitaLand president and group chief executive Lim Ming Yan in a statement.

Keppel Corp forms joint venture with Woh Hup to supply prefab construction modules
Keppel Corporation is tying up with construction and civil engineering firm Woh Hup (Private) Limited to form a joint venture to supply prefabricated pre-finished volumetric construction modules.  In an exchange filing on Tuesday evening, Keppel said that the joint venture firm Mod Prefab Private Limited will be 61 per cent owned by the conglomerate, making it a subsidiary of Keppel, and 39 per cent owned by Woh Hup.  Mod Prefab’s main business will be to pursue construction projects involving the supply of prefabricated pre-finished volumetric construction modules in Singapore.

GLP posts 52% jump in Q2 net profit
Global Logistic Properties (GLP) has reported a 52 per cent jump in second-quarter net profit to US$173 million, from US$114 million a year ago, spurred by the growth of its fund management platform in Japan and the US.  The leading logistics provider posted a 13 per cent improvement in revenue for the three months ended September to US$214 million.  The higher revenue was led by the completion and stabilisation of development projects in China with increasing rents, higher management fee income from the inclusion of GLP US Income Partners II and growth in Japan, and the strong yen against the US dollar.

mm2 Asia to buy 13 more M’sian cinemas for RM118m
mm2 Asia has announced an RM118 million (S$38.9 million) acquisition bid for the management and operations of 13 cinemas from Malaysia’s private-owned Lotus Fivestar Cinemas.  mm2 Asia said with the acquisition, it will own 133 cinema screens in Malaysia and emerged as the fourth largest cinema operator in the country.  The acquisition, announced after Tuesday trading hours, is in line with the diversification into the downstream value chain of film production, the listed company said.

Yoma’s Q2 net profit soars to S$8.5m
Mainboard-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings, best known for its KFC chain and real estate business in Myanmar, saw its net profit go up to S$8.5 million for its second quarter ended Sept 30 2016, from S$298,000 a year ago.  This was mainly driven by the fair value gain of S$14.7 million from the group’s telecommunications towers investment. As at Sept 30, 2016, the fair value of the group’s interest in the above investments has gone up to US$65.1 million compared to US$54.3 million as at June 30, 2016.

Views, Reviews & Forum

Construction workers deserve thanks
As I waited for my dad to pick me up from school recently, I saw workers hard at work constructing a building. I wondered if anyone thanked them for their hard work even though most of them are not Singaporeans.  Many of us see foreign construction workers as people who come here to earn money and get a better living when they go back to their own country.

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