#Latest* Malaysia's Sunrise mulls REIT listing

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian property developer Sunrise Bhd may consider injecting some of its property assets into a  real estate investment trust (REIT) as they begin to deliver stable income, its executive chairman said.

"We have invested considerably in a pool of investment assets over the last few years, which are now starting to  bear fruit," said Tong Kooi Ong.

Sunrise, ranked ninth by market value among listed Malaysian developers, may consider a REIT "at a later stage,"  Tong said in an email interview.

This month, larger rival Sunway City Bhd said it will inject eight retail properties into a REIT in a deal  bankers said may raise up to RM1 billion for the company.

A REIT mainly invests in commercial property and pay most of the rent to shareholders as dividends, which are  usually higher than yields of government bonds and offer capital gains if property prices rise.

Tong, a former banker and stockbroker, said Sunrise has not yet planned to enter the fast-growing markets of  Vietnam and China.

"For the medium term, our overseas focus will be on Canada. We do not have plans for the moment to venture into  Vietnam or China," he said.

Later this year, Sunrise plans to launch two projects -- an office tower project in the Malaysian capital as  well as a residential project in Vancouver, Canada, Tong said.

Malaysian property developers, such as S P Setia Bhd and Gamuda Bhd have embarked on multi-billion ringgit  developments in Vietnam to tap rapid growth. Sunway City has formed property joint ventures in fast-growing  China and India.

Malaysian developers expect higher sales from home this year as the economy rebounds from last year's downturn.  The stock market rally in 2009, which saw the benchmark share index jump nearly 40%, is expected to further  boost house buyers.

Malaysia is one of the first in Asia to withdraw crisis measures when the central bank raised its key policy  rate by 25 basis points to 2.25% in March. Most economists expect more hikes later this year.

Sunrise shares trade at 6.57 times 2010 earnings, compared to Sunway City's 10.61 times, IJM Land Bhd 24.98  times and Gamuda's 20.31 times, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sunrise shares have risen 6.8% so far this year, outpacing the 5.6% gain in the property sector index.
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