Link REIT (“Link”; Hong Kong stock code: 823), Asia’s largest real estate investment trust, today announced that on 12 December 2018, Link entered into agreements with a consortium led by Gaw Capital Partners to dispose of 12 properties, following a competitive sale process, for a total consideration of HK$12.01 billion (please refer to the list of properties at the end of the press release).
The consideration, the highest offered for the properties, represents approximately a 32.1% premium to the appraised value of the portfolio as of 30 September 2018 and a net disposal gain of about HK$2,787.6 million.
George Hongchoy, Chief Executive Officer of Link Asset Management Limited, the manager of Link REIT, said, “Despite recent market volatility, the property sale attracted overwhelming interest from leading international investors, including global and regional private equity funds, as well as local investors. The competitive bids and final sale price, at better pricing than those achieved in the past disposals, underline global investor confidence in Hong Kong’s economy and its real estate sector while further demonstrating Link’s ability in managing and enhancing assets.
“We are confident that with Gaw Capital Partners’ expertise and experience in asset management, they will continue to create value for stakeholders by further enhancing the operations of the disposed properties,” added Mr Hongchoy.
Following the disposal of the 12 properties and the acquisition of Beijing Jingtong Roosevelt Plaza as announced earlier on 26 Nov 2018, Link will have about 90.1% of its assets in Hong Kong and 9.9% in mainland China. Total portfolio value will amount to about HK$204 billion.
Proceeds of the sale will be used for new investment opportunities in Hong Kong and first-tier cities in mainland China, in addition to general working capital purposes including debt repayment and, where appropriate, unit buy-backs. Completion of the disposals will take place on 13 March 2019.
Link is one of the world’s largest retail-focused REITs and a constituent stock of the Hang Seng Index. It has a portfolio of about 9 million sq. ft. of retail space, around 61,000 carpark spaces and a Grade-A commercial tower with approximately 0.9 million sq. ft. under development in Hong Kong as of today. In mainland China, its portfolio includes nearly 4 million sq. ft. of retail and office space housed in four properties in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Link Asset Management intends to communicate with tenants, nearby residents and other stakeholders to keep them informed on matters relating to the transfer of ownership of the 12 properties, and the purchaser’s assumption of the obligations set out in the Hong Kong Housing Authority covenants.
HSBC and Cushman & Wakefield were the advisors for both the portfolio review and the disposal exercise.
The 12 properties sold, pending completion of the transaction on 13 March, 2019, are as follows: