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CapitaLand May Expand Raffles City Brand in Shanghai, Tianjin
Published on: 2010-06-30
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June 30 (Bloomberg) -- CapitaLand Ltd., Southeast Asia’s biggest developer, may expand its Raffles City brand in China by renaming two developments it acquired this year in Shanghai and the port city of Tianjin.

“If we can make some adjustments, we can rename them as Raffles City because they are very well located,” Lim Ming Yan, deputy chairman of the Singapore-based company’s China executive committee and chief executive officer of its Ascott Ltd. unit, said in an interview in New York on June 28.

A CapitaLand-led fund has already invested S$3 billion ($2.1 billion) in five Raffles City projects in China, and a sixth is in development in Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, Lim said. The company may have as many as 10 of the office and retail integrated developments globally, he said.

The Shanghai and Tianjin projects being evaluated by CapitaLand were acquired in January as part of the $2.2 billion purchase of the property assets of Orient Overseas (International) Ltd., which doubled the company’s holdings in China. CapitaLand aims to expand the China business to as much as 45 percent of its total operations in the next three to five years from the current 36 percent, Lim said.

Asian economies have rebounded from last year’s slump, boosting demand for property in CapitaLand’s markets ranging from China to Singapore. The company is also focusing on growth in Vietnam, where it aims to increase assets to about 10 percent of its total from the current 1.5 percent.

Office, Retail Space

China’s retail and residential properties remain the top desired investments for the three years ending in 2012, according to a survey of 75 investors and fund managers this year by Hong Kong-based Anrev, a not-for-profit organization.

The Raffles City projects include serviced apartments, office and retail space, and are generally about 200,000 square meters (2.15 million square feet), Lim said. Properties in China under the brand are open in Shanghai and Beijing, and are in development in Chengdu, Hangzhou and Ningbo, according to CapitaLand’s website. The company announced plans for one in Shenzhen last month.

CapitaLand’s share in the five Raffles City investments in China is about 45 percent, Chief Financial Officer Olivier Lim said in the interview. The Shenzhen project is unit of CapitaLand China.

Hottest Market

China overtook Hong Kong as the world’s hottest housing market in the first quarter, with prices rising at more than double the rate of anywhere else, property adviser Knight Frank LLP said June 17.

The country’s economy expanded 11.9 percent in the first quarter, the fastest pace in almost three years, boosted by Premier Wen Jiabao’s $586 billion stimulus package. The World Bank, in an economic outlook published June 9, forecast 9.5 percent growth in the economy for the year.

CapitaLand raised S$2.8 billion in November by selling shares in CapitaMalls Asia Ltd., making it Singapore’s biggest initial public offering since 1993. The company also sold S$1.1 billion of seven-year convertible bonds in July 2009 to refinance maturing debt and help fund new investments.

CapitaLand has dropped 13 percent in Singapore trading this year, compared with a 2.3 percent decline in the benchmark Straits Times Index.


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