|Singapore M&L Hospitality plans to sell assets.|
Wednesday, 18th September 2013
Source : External source
The share market infatuation with real estate investment trusts (Reits) could lure the Kum family to spin off hotel assets from M&L Hospitality within months.
The family is holding its cards close to its chest, but says launching a trust would help M&L keep growing at the same rapid pace it has set over the past five years, or even faster.
Chairman Michael Kum told The Straits Times at the firm's Market Street office last week: "The market seems favourable. At times it's still a bit choppy, so we're watching very closely and if there's any slight improvement in the situation we will look into it. We hope (to list) as soon as we can, but there's no decision yet. If we need to, we'll move. And if we move, we'll move fast."
Executive director Jocelyn Kum, 41, added: "We're just as mindful that the after-market performance needs to be strong."
The family had planned to list a Reit called M&L Hospitality Trusts in May last year but abandoned the attempt last April, citing poor valuations.
Mr Kum, 69, said last week that it would be "prudent" for M&L to watch upcoming Reit initial public offerings (IPOs) "carefully to make sure that they do well post-listing".
Singapore Press Holdings and Overseas Union Enterprise will both list Reits in coming months.
This is fast turning out to be a red-hot year for the Reit sector, thanks to the kick-start it received in March when an IPO for Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust was nearly 30 times subscribed.
That was swiftly followed by Croesus Retail Trust, which listed on May 10 and was 22.4 times subscribed. Croesus had planned to list last November but reportedly held back due to a weak market.
Other possible Reits tipped to list here this year include an industrial trust by developer Soilbuild and some postponed from last year such as the Dynasty Reit.
Ms Kum, who is Mr Kum's daughter and a former investment banker, told The Straits Times that a Reit would help the family grow its hotel business.