UPDATE 1-Thai tycoon Charoen's FCL eyes $473 mln hospitality REIT in Q2-sources

Thu Feb 6, 2014 12:46am EST

* Picks DBS, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, UOB for IPO-sources

* Marks first step toward merging of Charoen, FCL property assets

* Listing comes after F&N, FCL split last month (Adds detail on FCL properties, valuation)

By Saeed Azhar

SINGAPORE, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Frasers Centrepoint Ltd (FCL) , a company controlled by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, is looking to raise up to S$600 million ($473 million) through the listing of a hospitality real estate investment trust in Singapore in the second quarter, sources said.

This listing would mark the first step toward the merging of property assets of Charoen's business empire, which operates under the Singapore-listed FCL and his TCC Group, after the Thai tycoon won control of the drinks-and-property conglomerate Fraser and Neave in an $11 billion deal last year.

Charoen's fortunes appear better than rival businessman Dhanin Chearavanont, whose retail firm CP ALL has become Asia's most indebted food retailer after an expensive acquisition funded by a large foreign currency loan.

FCL's planned real estate investment trust would hold serviced residences owned by F&N and other assets such as the InterContinental Hotel in Singapore, which Charoen's TCC Group owns, sources said.

FCL, which split from Fraser and Neave into a separately listed property-focused company, has a market value of $3.2 billion, while Fraser and Neave is valued at $3.8 billion.

F&N returned S$4.73 billion to shareholders as part of a capital reduction last year.

If dividends are included, Charoen's deal to takeover F&N is profitable especially after the split, which now reflects a better market value of its Singapore property business, one of the sources told Reuters.

In a research note last month, UBS also flagged the possibility of Charoen's Thai Beverage selling its stake in the property business and taking a larger stake in F&N to focus on the food and beverage firm.

SERVICED RESIDENCES

FCL's Frasers Hospitality owns serviced residences in Singapore, Europe, North Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Australia, offering about 8,000 apartments in more than 30 cities, according to its website.

FCL has picked DBS, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and United Overseas Bank as the main advisers on the deal, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

These banks also played a key role the F&N transaction with DBS and UOB providing the bulk of the financing.

"The deal could come as early as April, but all depends on the markets," a source with direct knowledge of the matter said, adding the deal size could be between S$500 million and S$600 million.

A spokesman for FCL said the group has previously announced that it is exploring the possibility of a hospitality REIT, but declined to confirm the name of the advisers and the size of the deal. The banks were not immediately available to comment.

($1 = 1.2681 Singapore dollars) (Editing by Matt Driskill)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.