Singha Estate gets drunk on takeovers

Singha Estate gets drunk on takeovers

SET-listed developer Singha Estate Plc (S) is about to close a 2-billion-baht takeover deal of a hotel in an unnamed major tourist destination in Thailand.

Methee Vinichbutr, chief financial officer, said poor economic conditions offer investors a good chance to buy, particularly hotels, as that industry suffers from the downturn.

"Acquisition talks will get easier during an economic decline. We hope to end this deal this year to improve our performance," he said.

Mr Methee said the hotel deal was among a few Singha was pursuing, including office buildings and a non-listed company that own attractive assets. The company expects to spend around 5-6 billion baht on takeovers in the rest of the year.

Singha Estate declared in July it would spend 30 billion baht over the next 18 months to acquire property assets in Thailand and neighbouring countries.

Last month it acquired Suntowers Complex, which includes 62,000 square metres of office space, 95% occupied, and two leasehold pieces of land, for 4.5 billion baht. Singha plans to talk with the leasehold plot owners about renewing the leases and will decide later what to do about the plots, he said. All are located on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road near the Lat Phrao intersection.

Early next year it expects to develop office space with a lettable area of 50,000 sq m at a monthly rental rate of 1,000 baht per sq m at Singha Complex, a mixed-use development at the Asok-Phetchaburi intersection with a total investment of 4.5 billion baht.

It has scheduled an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders on Sept 30 to ask for shareholder approval on a lease of 10,000 sq m at Singha Complex to Boon Rawd Brewery Co. The beverage producer is Singha's major shareholder with a 46% stake and plans to relocate its headquarters from the Samsen area.

By the end of this month it expects to launch a condo project on Asok Road, just before SET-listed developer Raimon Land Plc is scheduled to launch a new condo project under the Loft brand next door.

The project includes a 55-storey tower with 421 units priced from 300,000 baht per sq m. It would be Singha's first high-rise residential development since it acquired Rasa Property Development Plc last year through a backdoor listing.

In the first half, Singha had a net loss of 125 million baht on revenue of 761 million baht, compared with a net loss of 33 million on revenue of 126 million in the same period last year before the Rasa acquisition.

S shares closed yesterday on the SET at 5.80 baht, up 55 satang, in trade worth 69.4 million baht.

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