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CapitaMalls Asia to acquire Queensbay Mall in Penang

SINGAPORE: CapitaMalls Asia Limited is set to add another mall to its portfolio with the proposed acquisition of Queensbay Mall in Penang for RM651.8 million.

According to Lim Beng Chee, CEO of CapitaMalls Asia, Queensbay Mall will form the seed asset for the trust's planned RM1 billion Malaysia retail property fund, to potentially provide a pipeline of shopping malls for CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust to acquire.

The trust will acquire about 90.7% of the mall's retail strata area of about 916,181 sq ft and all its car park, it said in a press release on Wednesday, Dec 22.

Taking into account the net lettable area (NLA) of about 892,361 sq ft, the purchase price is equivalent to about RM730 psf of NLA. The total cost, including acquisition-related cost, is RM658.3 million.

"Gurney Plaza — which we already own through CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust — and Queensbay Mall are the two best malls in Penang. The acquisition of Queensbay Mall, the largest shopping mall in Penang, will substantially strengthen CapitaMalls Asia's market leadership in the state.

"This acquisition signals our ongoing commitment to invest in Malaysia's retail sector for the long-term, following our listing of CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust in July this year," said Lim.

Queensbay Mall will be CapitaMalls Asia's second mall in Penang, and its fourth in Malaysia. The other three malls — Gurney Plaza in Penang, an interest in Sungei Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur, and The Mines in Selangor — are owned through CapitaMalls Asia's stake in CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust.

Lim, who puts Queensbay Mall's property yield at about 5%, said CapitaMalls Asia will leverage on its scale and expertise to upgrade the mall further through remixing the tenancy as well as improving the asset plan to realise the potential of the mall.

The acquisition will be carried out through CapitaMalls' subsidiaries and an asset-backed securitisation structure.

Queensbay Mall, which is located at Bayan Lepas, is a family lifestyle mall in the geart of a 73-acre prime waterfront integrated development, comprising a hotel, residential homes and planned office towers.

Due to its central location, excellent transport links and proximity to the Penang Bridge and Bayan Lepas industrial hub in Penang's Free Trade Zone, the mall serves about 1.6 million people on Penang island and the peninsula mainland.

The mall's accessibility will be further enhanced in the future with the planned development of the proposed second link bridge from the south of Penang island to Seberang Prai on the mainland.

According to Lim, Queensbay Mall will form the seed asset for the trust's planned RM1 billion Malaysia retail property fund. Photo: QueensbayMallMalaysia.com
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