Newspaper publisher Singapore Press Holdings (SPH)(SGX:T39) has engaged Credit Suisse and DBS Group to manage the impending listing of its upcoming Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). This is according to sources interviewed by Bloomberg who declined to be named citing official secrecy.

SPH currently owns several retail properties including Clementi Mall, the upcoming Seletar Mall and Paragon shopping mall along Orchard Road. The publisher has announced several weeks ago that it is looking to spin-off these properties into a REIT.

Paragon Mall on Orchard Road accounts for 80 per cent of the SPH REIT portfolio and is currently 100 per cent occupied by tenants such as Prada and Burberry. 

Should the SPH REIT IPO materialize, it could raise as much as S$1 billion given the healthy appetite of yield-hungry investors in this region. The IPO for Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust (MGCCT) rasied S$1.6 billion last February. This will make the SPH REIT Singapore's second largest to date according to CIMB-GK analyst Kenneth Ng as reported by Today newspaper.

“Fund-raising from the REIT allows them to find resources to fund their future acquisitions, possibly in suburban town centers in Singapore. Property and investment returns have been a big part of their earnings, because their media business isn't growing much", Mr. Ng said.

The SPH REIT is expected to take place around the 3Q of 2013.

Shares of SPH reached S$4.68 Thursday - its highest level in 5.5 years on anticipation of Q2 results and prospects of the 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.