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WCT expects to list REIT before end-2017

KLANG (June 1): Construction and property player WCT Holdings Bhd said it expects to realise plans to list a real estate investment trust (REIT) before year end, after the group has tidied its assets.

"The plan is to realise it within this year, we are in consultation with our investment bankers and the authorities.

"There will be things that we need to do to tidy up the assets before we can launch the REIT but the plan is to get everything done before the end of the year," said WCT group managing director Datuk Lee Tuck Fook at a press conference today.

He said the REIT will have over RM1 billion in assets, with the REIT to start off with WCT's own assets.

The listing of the group's properties under a REIT forms part of WCT's de-gearing exercise, as the group aims to lower its gearing from the 0.9 times level as at Dec 31, 2016.

Lee added that the recent share placement in April — the first tranche of its placement exercise of up to 125 million shares — and the conversion of its warrants, which will be expiring in December, will also help the group in de-gearing.

"We are also pushing the sales of our property inventory, along with our plan for the REIT. All these exercises will bring our gearing level down," he said.

He added that the group aims to lower its gearing to below 0.6 times with the completion of its de-gearing exercises.

Meanwhile, WCT said property sales have been encouraging since January, helped by the group's strategy to re-price and re-brand some of its properties.

"Because of the measures that we have taken, the sales that we have achieved since January have been encouraging at almost RM200 million. We hope the pace of sales will pick up and we'll able to achieve our RM500 million sales target," said Lee.

At 12.30pm, WCT fell 6 sen or 2.7% to RM2.16, giving it a market capitalisation of RM3.02 billion. — theedgemarkets.com

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