Chinese tycoon Tong Jinquan to buy 60pc of IReit Global's IPO

Summit Group boss Tong Jinquan plans to buy about 60 per cent of IReit Global's IPO

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 2:57am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 3:45am

A Chinese tycoon plans to buy about 60 per cent of the initial public offering of IReit Global, a Singapore real estate investment trust that will invest in European properties, in his latest push to ramp up reit investment in the city state.

Rich Chinese investors have become increasingly interested in Singapore's reits, admiring their stable returns and seeking alternatives to park their wealth, while the Chinese property market remains shaky.

Tong Jinquan, ranked by Forbes as China's 35th-richest man, plans to buy 254 million of the 423 million units in the listing, which are being offered at 88 Singapore cents (HK$5.49) a unit, according to the prospectus.

The offering aims to raise about S$372 million.

"Chinese investors have been key buyers of properties in Singapore in the past. Now the property outlook is softening, and they are exploring other asset classes, including reits," said Vikrant Pandey, an analyst at UOB Kay Hian.

The 15 per cent stamp duty the Singaporean government imposed on foreign buyers of properties also helped push investors to seek alternatives and reits had been appealing, Pandey added.

"For the high-net-worth individuals, the current 6 to 7 per cent reit yield is pretty attractive," he said.

With a portfolio of four properties in Germany, IReit is expected to have an initial focus on Germany and Britain.

DBS Bank is the global coordinator for the deal and a joint bookrunner with Barclays.

Tong's holdings in nine Singapore-listed reits added up to about US$780 million, data showed. He owns 64.75 per cent of Viva Industrial Trust, 4.58 per cent of Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust, 12.93 per cent of Cambridge Industrial Trust and 16.2 per cent of OUE Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust, among others.

The FT ST Reit Index, which tracks the performance of reits listed in Singapore, has risen more than 8 per cent so far this year, beating the 4 per cent gain in the benchmark Straits Times Index.

Tong's Summit Group, which owns some high-end hotels and the popular Longemont shopping centre in Shanghai, held assets worth 64.9 billion yuan (HK$81.5 billion) at the end of 2013, according to IReit's prospectus.