Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mapletree Commercial Trust posts Q4 DPU of 1.953 cents

Mapletree Commercial Trust reported a distribution per unit of 1.953 cents for its fourth quarter ended March. This is 12.4% higher than the DPU of 1.737 cents declared a year ago.

The distribution will be paid on June 5.

Gross revenue rose 12.9% to $68.6 million as a result of positive contributions from VivoCity, PSA Building and full-year contribution from Mapletree Anson, following its acquisition last February.

Net property income rose 15.2% to $50.8 million.


Singapore stocks led lower by banks, weak China manufacturing

Singapore stocks fell on Wednesday, led lower by the banking sector, with sentiment muted after data from China showed manufacturing activity shrinking for a fourth straight month.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was down 0.6% at 3,258.6, on course for its biggest daily loss in nearly 5 weeks. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.4%.

Manufacturing activity in China shrank in April, signaling economic weakness into the second quarter, a preliminary survey showed on Wednesday, although the pace of decline eased helped by policy steps to arrest the slowdown.

Banks fared poorly, with the sector edging down 2.8%. DBS led losses, inching down as much as 1.4%, while UOB and OCBC were down 1.3% and 0.1% respectively.

Keppel Corp saw a sharp 3.6% drop to $10.61 as it was trading on the first day after paying its dividend.

“We saw pretty strong gains last week, but there was very little news in the local markets this week,” said Carey Wong, an analyst from OCBC Investment Research.

“The recent Chinese manufacturing gauge wasn’t strong either, so there was more profit-taking.”

He added that market sentiment in the following days will depend on the results of company earnings reports for the first quarter due next week, including the three banks.

Taiwan bourse chief seeks global trading links via Singapore

Taiwan’s stock exchange is seeking to create a cross-border stock trading platform with Singapore by this year to boost overseas access to the island’s listed shares, Chairman Lee Sush-der said in an interview.

“Opening access to our shares can benefit us with an active market and dynamic economy,” he said yesterday in his office in Taiwan’s tallest building, Taipei 101. Fundraising in the market stood at NT$654.8 billion ($27.2 billion) in 2013, Lee said, which allowed companies “to enhance research, expand capacity and eventually bolster the economy.”

The trading platform, for which the Taiwan bourse and Singapore Exchange Ltd. are discussing technical issues such as settlement rules, would lower costs for investors, Lee said. Taiwanese investors in Singapore stocks currently must buy through both local brokerages and securities firms based in the city-state. Overseas trading through the current mechanism amounted to at least NT$800 billion last year, he said.

“The cross-border platform can provide more choices and help reduce costs for investors, particularly for individuals,” Lee said.

Taiwan’s Taiex index rose 0.3% to 9,001.87 at 10:13 a.m. local time, heading for the highest close since June 8, 2011. The benchmark index advanced 12% in 2013. The economy grew at 2.11% in the same period, with private consumption rising 1.77%, according to government data. Foreigners, which have been were net buyers over the past 22 trading days, hold about 35% of domestic equities.


“Easier access to overseas markets will benefit local brokerages, while foreign investors may be attracted to the domestic market that is poised to gain more ground,” said Tu Jin-lung, chairman of KGI Securities Investment Advisory Co.

Efforts to establish a cross-border trading platform coincide with another internationalization push by the exchange, the introduction of an index comprised by all companies listed on the main board and on the GreTai Securities Market exchange, which has a market capitalization of NT$2.68 trillion compared with the NT$25.5 trillion of the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Sub-indexes and other related products are being planned for this gauge, called the Formosa Index, to be introduced on May 5, Lee said. The benchmark will start trading at a level based on prices at the end of 2013.

“It will provide a whole picture of the local equities market,” Lee said.

CapitaCommercial says space cunch to spur rents

Singapore’s office rents are set to rise as much as 15% this year on increased demand and a dearth of new developments, said Lynette Leong, chief executive officer of CapitaCommercial Trust Management.

Global companies including Cargill Inc., the biggest U.S. agricultural firm, and Bordier & Cie, a Swiss private bank’s local subsidiary, are driving the recovery as they set up offices in the central business district, said Leong, whose company manages the biggest office trust in Asia outside Japan. “I see an acceleration in rents coming in the second half, as there is no new supply next year and tenants will feel the crunch when they realize there is no new supply,” Leong said in an interview in Singapore on April 21. “Rents for our portfolio have already increased by 5% in the first quarter compared to a year ago.”

Office rents in Singapore, ranked the most affordable of the top five major financial centers by Cushman & Wakefield Inc., is rebounding as robust demand amid high occupancy rates reinforce landlords’ bargaining power. Rents in the island- state’s central business district are expected to rise as much as 15% this year, broker DTZ Holdings Plc said April 3.

CapitaCommercial will review terms for tenants making up 9% of gross rental income this year, Leong said.

“We expect office REITs to surprise on the upside with stronger occupancy and rates,” Regina Lim, the Singapore-based head of Asian property research at Standard Chartered Plc, said in a note to clients April 11.


Average rents in the newer Marina Bay area, which holds premium-grade buildings, increased by 4.5% to $11.50 a square foot per month in the three months to March from the previous quarter, according to DTZ. Office occupancy rates in the March quarter rose 0.4%age points to 95.1% from the previous quarter, DTZ said.

CapitaCommercial Trust is partly owned by CapitaLand, Southeast Asia’s biggest developer. It’s the biggest office REIT in Asia by market value after Japan’s Nippon Building Fund Inc. and Japan Real Estate Investment Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The trust declined 2.2% to $1.57 at 11:47 a.m. in Singapore, paring year-to-date gains to 8.3%. The measure tracking real estate investment trusts in the island-state has advanced 4.3% this year.

The REIT owns a 40% stake in CapitaGreen, a 700,000- square-foot office tower in the older Raffles Place financial district that’s expected to be completed at the end of the year. The trust manager has commitments for about 12% of the 40-story building built on the site of an old parking garage. The landlord, which has three tenants, expects to sign new tenants for half of the space by year-end, Leong said.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Apr 22: MapletreeLog, Ascendas REIT, Boustead Singapore

Singapore share prices ended mixed on Monday on the back of weak trading activity following the Easter holiday. The blue-chip Straits Times Index (STI) rose 0.06% or 2.03 points to end at 3,255.83. Here are some stocks that could move the market this morning:

Mapletree Logistics Trust posted a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.89 cents for its fourth quarter ended March 31, 2014, up from 1.73 cents a year earlier.

Ascendas REIT posted a distribution per unit (DPU) of 3.55 cents for its fourth quarter ended March 31, 2014, a 16% increase from 3.06 cents a year ago.

Boustead Singapore, the infrastructure-related engineering service provider, said on Monday that it has started "certain discussions" to enhance shareholders' value after being queried by SGX for unusual movements in its stock price.

Heliconia Capital Management, which manages the Singapore government's co-investment programme for small- and medium-sized enterprises, has invested an undisclosed sum of money in FNA Group International, the owner of The Cocoa Trees chain of chocolate stores.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boustead in talks to expand industrial portfolio

Boustead Singapore, the infrastructure-related engineering service provider, said on Monday that it has started "certain discussions" to enhance shareholders' value.

Replying to a query from the SGX on the trading activity of its stock, Boustead said it has "commenced certain discussions'' relating to "its strategy to expand its industrial leasehold portfolio to enhance recurring income and also to achieve a critical mass in order to unlock the value of its portfolio".

"However, in respect of the group's assets, no memorandum of understanding of a binding nature or any other definitive agreement has been entered into and no firm decision has been made whether to proceed with any sale transaction,'' Boustead said.

Boustead closed 1.04% higher at 1.94 cents for the day.


MapletreeLog posts 4Q DPU of 1.89 cents

Mapletree Logistics Trust posted a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.89 cents for its fourth quarter ended March 31, 2014, up from 1.73 cents a year earlier.

The higher DPU came on the back of a 10.1% rise in distributable amount to $46.3 million. This included the partial distribution of a divestment gain from 30 Woodlands Loop of $600,000.

Excluding this, the amount distributable to unitholders would have increased by 8.6%, the REIT said.