Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Daily news - 29 Apr

UOL rules out current need to raise funds
UOL Group does not need to raise money currently but may consider a rights issue if it needs money to acquire assets, chairman Wee Cho Yaw said yesterday at the property company's 46th annual general meeting. Some shareholders, while asking pointed and detailed questions on the financial status of the company, also expressed happiness with the company's state of affairs. Several of them thanked Mr Wee for his astute guidance of the company during the current trying times. Shareholder Jimmy Tan asked about UOL's cash flow and whether the company would consider a rights issue. 'If we need money to acquire assets, if necessary, I think we will do it,' said Mr Wee. But currently he did not see the need to do so. Gwee Lian Kheng, UOL group chief executive, explained that UOL will be receiving payments for its projects sold over the last two years. Another shareholder, PJ Smith, noted that UOL's gearing had doubled to 42 per cent from 21 per cent in 2007, 'which in today's market conditions is quite high'.

Suntec Reit secures $825m refinancing
Suntec Reit has secured an $825 million loan facility. And with this fresh loan, the office and retail trust has no further refinancing needs until 2011. The new facility will be used to refinance Suntec Reit's existing debt under its medium-term notes programme and $700 million of commercial mortgage backed securities maturing this year. It comprises a $725 million three-year loan and a $100 million seven-year fixed-rate loan from a panel of seven banks. The blended all-in interest margin works out to less than 3.75 per cent, Suntec Reit said yesterday. The loan facility will be secured by Suntec City Mall and parts of the trust's portfolio in Suntec City Office Towers. The loans were granted by the three local banks - DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank - and four foreign banks. The new facility means that Suntec Reit has refinanced $1.7 billion of borrowings in the past two years, said Yeo See Kiat, chief executive of the trust's manager. Suntec Reit refinanced $870 million of loans in 2008.

Allgreen Q1 revenue dips but profit jumps 67.5%
Allgreen Properties has posted a 67.5 per cent increase in first quarter net profit to $29.2 million from the same year-ago period, despite lower turnover. The improved bottomline was due chiefly to an increase in other operating income (largely because of translation gains on foreign currency loans and deposits) and a decrease in distribution and selling expenses, as showflat expenses were lower amidst the subdued property market this year. The Singapore-listed property unit of Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok said revenue for Q1 ended March 31, 2009, slipped 8.1 per cent year on year to $80.7 million chiefly due to lower revenue from development properties and hotel operations. 'In the development properties segment, lower revenue was a result of lower progress sales recognition. In the hotel segment, lower revenue was a result of lower room rates and occupancy at Traders Hotel as compared with the corresponding period in 2008,' Allgreen said.

Source: Kim Eng

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