Thursday, March 18, 2010

CCT raising up to $250m from convertible bonds

Most of the funds to be used for asset enhancement and debt refinancing

CAPITACOMMERCIAL Trust (CCT) is planning to raise at least $225 million and up to $250 million through a five-year convertible bond issue to be placed with institutional and accredited investors.

The office Reit, which is partly owned by CapitaLand, plans to use most of the funds (75-90 per cent) for ‘asset enhancement and refinancing of existing indebtedness’, CCT said in an SGX announcement late last night. The remaining funds will be used for general working capital.

Credit Suisse has been appointed the sole bookrunner and lead manager for the issue which is expected to close on or around April 21.

The maximum number of new units to be issued upon conversion will not exceed 10 per cent of the 2.81 billion units in issue as at Dec 31, 2009. In line with Rule 887(1)(a) of SGX-ST’s listing manual, no unitholders’ approval is required in this case.

At its full-year results briefing, CCT said that it had no plans to raise equity citing the lack of acquisition plans.

CapitaLand’s shares tanked on the announcement of its $1.1 billion convertible bond issue in August on concerns over share dilution.

In early January, the trust wrote down the value of its investment properties by $327.6 million and unveiled plans to revamp its portfolio. It said that it would sell Robinson Point to a private fund for $203.3 million and look at redeveloping Starhub Centre at Cuppage Road from an office property to a mainly residential one.

It also reported a downward revaluation of its properties from $6.03 billion in May 2009 to $5.7 billion at end-2009. The writedown follows an earlier one in May, where the value of CCT’s portfolio was reduced from $6.71 billion in December 2008.

CCT owns 11 commercial properties in Singapore, including some older properties in the Central Business District (CBD). It is believed that the funds raised could be used to redevelop Starhub Centre as well as possibly resurrect plans to redevelop the Market Street Car Park into an office development which were shelved last year due to the uncertain market outlook.

In May 2009, CCT announced plans to raise $828.3 million in a rights issue as it looked to cut down its gearing.

Prime office rents in the CBD have been falling and an upcoming glut of office supply is seen contributing to further rental erosion with analysts seeing older buildings as being particularly vulnerable. For example, in January, property firm Savills said that it expected a 20-25 per cent fall in Grade A office rents in Singapore this year.

The Grade A office supply here will rise by 47 per cent between 2010 and 2012, with 7.7 million square feet of space being added, Savills added.

CCT shares were suspended yesterday pending the announcement and remained suspended pending pricing of the bonds. On Tuesday, the stock lost one cent to close at $1.13.

Source: Business Times, 18 Mar 2010

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