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Property News 17 Mar 2017

Sime Darby Centre 'up for sale again'

Sim Derby

Blackstone Group plans to sell Sime Darby Centre in Bukit Timah, one of the office and retail assets it acquired last year from Malaysian palm-oil producer Sime Darby Berhad, according to people familiar with the matter.

The New York-based private equity firm expects to fetch about S$300 million for Sime Darby Centre, which it bought for just under S$200 million last year, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified. CBRE Group is advising Blackstone on the sale, the people said, without identifying any of the prospective buyers.

Blackstone in May acquired a majority stake in three Singapore property assets, including the Sime Darby Centre, in a deal that valued them at about S$300 million.

Located in an ageing commercial block along Dunearn Road and directly in front of King Albert Park MRT station, Sime Darby Centre houses tenants like kitchenware retailer ToTT, Scanteak, Cold Storage and ChildFirst pre-school.

It is spread across 250,000 sq ft, of which about 80 per cent is office space and the rest is retail. The development sits on freehold and 999-year leasehold land parcels zoned for commercial use and with 1.8 plot ratio.

Ms Charlotte Bilney, a spokesman for Blackstone, declined to comment.

Blackstone owns a 70 per cent stake in the Sime Darby Centre and Sime owns the rest.

The conglomerate, Malaysia's biggest listed palm-oil producer, sold some property assets in Australia and Singapore to help pare debt.

The site could attract bids from large and mid-sized Singapore developers including Far East Organization, City Developments, Frasers Centrepoint and United Industrial Corp, one of the people said.

Blackstone, which manages more than US$100 billion (S$140 billion) in real estate assets worldwide, in the past has bought residential apartment blocks in Singapore's prime area.

The firm did a deal with City Developments in 2014 to take part in financing for a luxury hotel, retail and residential development on Sentosa island.

Recently, it was shortlisted as of one the bidders for acquiring Singapore-listed Global Logistic Properties, the US$9 billion warehouse operator backed by Singapore's sovereign fund GIC.

The Straits Times

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