Newspaper publisher Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has delayed a planned initial public offering of its proposed REIT despite receiving overwhelming shareholder approval at an EGM last week.

In an official statement released today, the company said that "it is continuing to monitor market conditions and will make an announcement at the appropriate time." No further details or timelines are provided in the announcement. The SPH REIT was initially slated for initial public offering this coming July.

Plans for the SPH REIT secured shareholders approval last week when they were promised a special dividend upon successful listing of the REIT. 

According to a report in Wall Street Journal, SPH had initially planned to take orders from institutional investors this week. The offering was expected to raise as much as S$540 million via the injection of two of its properties into the REIT. They are namely the Clementi Mall and the Paragon located along Orchard Road.

But concerns regarding the unfolding credit crunch in China have hammered Asian markets this past week including new trusts and REITs listings in Asia. Shares in Asian Pay Television Trust have fallen 12 percent since their debut in Singapore last month while prices of latest REIT on the block, Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust, have retreated back to its IPO price of S$0.93 from as high as S$1.15 just several weeks ago.

Veteran REITs in Singapore have fared no better as well with the FTSE ST Real Estate Index, largely seen as a barometer of Singapore REITs, falling to its lowest levels since September 2012 as heavyweight such as Ascendas REIT flirting with its 52-week low.

Meanwhile shareholders of Overseas Union Enterprise Limited (OUE) have approved the proposed disposals of Mandarin Orchard Singapore and Mandarin Gallery into the OUE Hospitality REIT at an EGM held today. There were no indications from the company if it is similarly monitoring market conditions or making plans to delay the impending REIT.

The company has previously announced that the OUE Hospitality REIT will be led by Mr Chong Kee Hiong as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Manager. Mr. Chong was previously the Chief Executive of The Ascott Limited, the serviced residence arm of Singapore-based property firm CapitaLand. The OUE Hospitality REIT is largely expected to list by mid-July prior to current market sentiments.

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.