Singapore has welcomed a REIT advocacy body, REITAS.

Investors wishing to ride on the Japanese retail property market are keenly anticipating the impending listing of Croesus Retail Trust (CRT) on the Singapore Exchange. According to unnamed sources who spoke to Dow Jones news agency, the REIT has planned its Initial Public Offering (IPO) price at 93 cents. This gives the Japanese cross-border REIT a market capitalization of about S$372 million.

Croesus Retail Trust will be backed by Marubeni and Daiwa House Industry. Both have initially shelved plans for its IPO in November amid poor market sentiments and lack of interest from investors. It is unclear what triggered the decision to go ahead with the listing at this point of time.

Singapore seems to be positioning itself as the REIT hub of Asia with several keenly anticipated REIT IPOs in the pipeline.

Croesus Retail Trust is expected to hold retail properties such as shopping malls that are located across Japan. It is not clear at this junction as to the details of these shopping malls or as to the actual date of the IPO. The REIT is expected to file its preliminary prospectus with the Singapore central bank by this week according to the sources.

Another cross-border REIT with Japan-focused properties listed on the SGX is Saizen REIT. However unlike Croesus Retail Trust, Saizen REIT is vested exclusively in residential properties. Saizen REIT listed on the SGX at an opening price of S$1.00 in 2007 and is currently trading at $0.20.

Lately, Singapore seems to be positioning itself as a hub for Real Estate Investments Trusts. The largest REIT listing to date, Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust, was over-subscribed 38 times as it went public last March. Should CRT materilize, it will be Singapore's second largest IPO this year as a bevy of other keenly anticipated REITs largely thought to be in the pipeline for the rest of 2013 including the SPH REIT and OUE REIT.

By Ridzwan Rahmat

Ridzwan has been analysing REITs and business trusts since 2008, and personally manages a portfolio comprising mainly of SGX-listed REITs. He founded REITsWeek in 2013.