Link Reit providing tenants with better business environment
I refer to recent comments made in the media by legislative and executive councillor Regina Ip on Link Asset Management Limited’s business initiatives, including a letter to the Post (“Link Reit and potential buyers must respect land grant conditions”, November 3), and would like to clarify the relevant issues.
Since the Link’s initial public offering in 2005, we have stayed true to the strategy stated in our prospectus by progressively enhancing the facilities and services at our shopping centres and fresh markets. We have completed 53 asset enhancement projects, bringing about wider choices for our shoppers, a better business environment for our tenants, and a revitalised fresh market industry and culture to Hong Kong.
With regard to land use, the operation of the Link’s properties is subject to land lease restrictions similar to those applied to other properties in Hong Kong.
We have, throughout the years, strictly abided by the provisions of the land lease and related covenants.
Under the reit code, all real estate investment trusts are required to keep development activities under 10 per cent of gross asset value, and to hold all properties for a minimum of two years. This effectively ensures that reits remain as longer-term property investors, as distinct from property developers, whose main business is building and selling properties.
Our properties are developed for long-term investment to provide a stable income stream. The reit code amendments in 2014 were largely made to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong’s reit sector, by allowing reits to undertake property development within a set framework more closely aligned with international practices.
With respect to the suggestion that the Link cares only about its unit-holders, it is important to note that accountability to unit-holders is one of the Securities and Futures Commission’s licensing requirements.
As a responsible corporate citizen, the Link has proactively gone beyond the regulatory requirements to introduce various community engagement initiatives.
These include, among others, completing a HK$200 million programme to upgrade barrier-free access across our properties; donating over HK$40 million since 2013 through our Link Together Initiatives charity programme to benefit young people, seniors and the needy; and launching the Link Tenant Academy to enhance tenants’ business knowledge and competitiveness.
Going forward, we will continue to engage our stakeholders and deliver initiatives that support the development of the communities around us as we have done in the past.
Aubrey Ho, director (corporate affairs and marketing), Link Asset Management Limited