Thursday, March 11, 2010

S-Reits outperform peers for total returns in 2009

They posted returns of 85.6%; Asian Reits performed well as a region: study

REAL estate investment trusts (Reits) in Singapore have outperformed their counterparts in other major markets in terms of total returns in 2009, according to a report released yesterday.

Ernst & Young’s study showed that Reits Singapore and Hong Kong posted returns of 85.6 per cent and 64.5 per cent respectively in 2009.

Malaysia (38.6 per cent) and South Korea (28.4 per cent) also put up strong showings.

By contrast, total returns in the more mature Reit markets were much lower. Returns for Australian Reits were 10.4 per cent in 2009, while Japan’s Reits came in at 6.7 per cent. The largest single Reit market in the world, the United States, witnessed returns of 27.9 per cent.

‘Asian Reits performed well as a region because the Asian economies have generally been more resilient to the financial crisis, underpinned to some extent by China’s economic performance and favourable long-term growth outlook,’ said Liew Choon Wai, assurance partner and head of Singapore real estate for Ernst & Young.

The performance of each country’s Reit market appears to reflect the broader economic sentiment, he added: ‘For Singapore, the economy was seen as particularly vulnerable during the financial melt-down, and it was not surprising that we saw a plunge in Reit returns in 2008 to early 2009, which has subsequently rebounded strongly since March as financial markets stabilise.’

But only Singapore recorded a negative three-year rate of return – of minus 4.15 per cent – of the Asian countries outside of Japan. Rates of return for South Korea, Malaysia and Hong Kong are all in positive territory over the last three years. Japan, a mature economy, had a three-year rate of return of minus 19 per cent.

Ernst & Young also noted that since March 2009, many Reit markets around the world have seen significant increases in share prices and Reits have raised billions of dollars by going back to the stock market for secondary (or follow-on) equity offerings to reduce debt, recapitalise their balance sheets and prepare their businesses for the next wave of growth.

Source: Business Times, 11 Mar 2010

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