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Westfield, Scentre log gains; Blackstone has eye on Indiabulls

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of Asia-Pacific real estate news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.


* Australia's Westfield Corp. saw a 2.3% year-over-year increase in its funds from operations for full year 2017 to US$707 million from US$700 million, while its spinoff and local retail giant, Scentre Group, saw FFO for the period rise 4.25% to A$1.29 billion from about A$1.24 billion.

In its earnings statement, Westfield reiterated its support for Unibail-Rodamco SE's US$15.68 billion takeover bid, while Westfield Co-CEO Peter Lowy said during the earnings call that "there is no plan B" for the company when asked what will happen if the bid fails to materialize. Just days before the call, Unibail CEO Christophe Cuvillier talked to The Australian and said he does not see any reason to amend the terms of the merger proposal, which he views as "a very good deal."

* SM Prime Holdings Inc.'s profit for full year 2017 rose 16.0% year over year to 27.60 billion Philippine pesos, while consolidated revenues increased 13.9% on an annual basis to 90.90 billion pesos. The Filipino conglomerate said the uptick is attributable to higher rental revenue from malls opened or expanded in 2016 and 2017, as well as strong residential take-up.

Indian spotlight

* India's rental property market appears to be heating up, with two big investors involved in separate bidding wars. Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, less than two months after taking an 89.00 billion-rupee stake in DLF Ltd., is said to be in pole position for a 40% stake worth about 14.00 billion rupees in the rental arm of residential developer Prestige Estates Projects Ltd.

Meanwhile, Blackstone Group LP is believed to be in final discussions for a 49% interest in the office rental business of Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd. A deal, said to be signed before the end of March, will reportedly carry a price tag of between US$600 million and US$650 million.

* DLF is kick-starting a renewed home sales strategy, with a view to sell 150 billion rupees worth of apartments over the next three to four years. The strategy will have the Indian developer focus on marketing completed or at advanced-stage developments.

* HDFC Property Fund has its sights set on raising US$500 million for a 10-year fund that will invest in commercial office and housing development projects across the country.

* Speaking of raising funds, the real estate arm of Indian conglomerate Shiram Group is mulling an IPO. Shriram Properties, while it waits out a final decision on the float, has earmarked 10.00 billion rupees for stressed real estate assets mostly in the southern part of the country.

* Punjab National Bank, which is in the middle of what is believed to be the largest bank scam in India's history, is considering the sale of its real estate assets, which will include a New Delhi office worth roughly 50 billion rupees.


* Singapore-listed Frasers Property Ltd. is buying 22 assets and two project and asset management businesses in Germany and Austria for about €285.2 million. The assets will be acquired by the company's Frasers Property Europe and its affiliates from Alpha Industrial GmbH & Co. KG and associated companies.

* Industrial & Infrastructure Fund Investment Corp. is buying 10 manufacturing and/or logistics cents in Japan for roughly ¥21.36 billion in phases, with full completion expected April 2.

* In Singapore, two giant names were involved in the property market this week. Local telecommunications giant Singtel agreed to sell a hotel development site to EL Development Pte. Ltd. for up to S$120 million, while an affiliate of CK Asset Holdings Ltd. is tipped to be paying S$410.9 million for a prime 17-story property along Singapore's Bukit Timah Road.

It is said that the CK Asset deal would be Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's first purchase in the collective sale market of Singapore, and its first property deal in the republic since 2014.

Featured during the week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

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Celestyn Wong contributed to this report.

As of Feb. 22, US$1 was equivalent to 64.98 Indian rupees, ¥107.03, 51.91 Philippine pesos and S$1.32.