SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Interest in Singapore-listed Global Logistic Properties GLPL.SI hotted up on Friday with the warehouse and distribution center operator revealing it had received several bids, including some involving its own senior management.
GLP, which is backed by sovereign wealth fund GIC and whose customers include Amazon and JD.Com, operates about $40 billion of industrial properties worldwide and earns two-thirds of its revenue from China.
The interest in GLP comes as it has built up a dominant market share in China, where a boom in e-commerce business is fuelling demand for modern warehouses and logistics facilities.
Sources have told Reuters that Chinese investment firms and global private equity groups were interested in GLP which announced a strategic business review late last year, encouraged by GIC, which owns a stake of 37 percent.
“The company...has received various non-binding proposals from a number of parties in connection with the strategic review,” GLP said in a statement.
GLP, whose shares have jumped about 50 percent since October to give it a market value of $9 billion, said there was no assurance any transaction will materialize.
Beijing-based Hopu Investment, which led a $2.5 billion funding by a Chinese consortium in GLP’s China business in 2014, was in talks with Chinese investment firm Hillhouse Capital, which owns a 8 percent stake, and other partners to bid for GLP, sources told Reuters. Blackstone Group is also among other groups interested in GLP, they added.
GLP said Fang Fenglei, Hopu’s founding partner and a non-independent director on GLP’s board, had an interest in one of the parties which submitted a bid. GLP’s CEO Ming Mei also had an interest in one of the bidding parties.
GLP said Mei and Fang had asked to be excused from all board matters related to the review since it started.
“Private equity funds are flush with cash and if you look across different sectors, logistics is one of the more high growth sectors and also seems to be quite sustainable,” Nai Jia Lee, senior research director at Edmund Tie & Company, a real estate advisory services firm, said last month.
JPMorgan (JPM.N) is advising the special committee.
GLP, GIC, JPMorgan, Hopu, Hillhouse and Blackstone declined to comment.
GLP has 15.8 million square meters of leasable or completed logistics facilities on lease in China, eight times the size of the second biggest player. It also has a big presence in Japan and the United States and owns assets in Brazil.
A sale of GLP could mark the biggest takeover of a Southeast Asian-listed company since Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s $11.2 billion successful bid for Singapore’s Fraser and Neave (FRNM.SI) in 2013.
GLP’s shares spent most of last year languishing below the 2010 IPO price of S$1.96 after slumping to a five-year low of S$1.595 in February 2016, halving from a peak in 2013.
With the shares underperforming, GIC, which had reduced its majority stake in the company through the IPO and a subsequent share sale, decided that it was time for GLP to review its options, the sources said.
Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar in SINGAPORE and Julie Zhu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Alexander Smith