Ong, Wheelock offer to buy S’pore’s Hotel Properties

SINGAPORE: A consortium that includes Singapore tycoon Ong Beng Seng and Wheelock Properties (Singapore) Ltd offered yesterday to buy Hotel Properties Ltd for S$3.50 (RM9.06) per share, valuing the company at around S$1.8 billion.

The move is the latest in a string of acquisitions in Singapore by large shareholders seeking to take advantage of what they see as attractive valuations to gain full control of property assets.

68 Holdings Pte Ltd had agreed to acquire nearly 214 million shares in Hotel Properties, representing a 41.9% stake in the company, at S$3.50 each, according to stock filings from Hotel Properties and Wheelock Properties with the Singapore Exchange. The group plans to make a cash offer for all the remaining shares it does not own.

Shares in Hotel Properties surged as much as 13.1% to S$3.54, their highest point in almost 11 months, while Wheelock Properties jumped 5.4% to S$1.84 in early Singapore trading.

68 Holdings is 60% owned by Cuscaden Partners Pte Ltd, an investment holding company in which Ong, who is also managing director of Hotel Properties, owns a 90% interest while David Ban Song Long owns the rest.

The remaining 40% of 68 Holdings is held by Nassim Developments, a unit of Wheelock Properties. Wheelock Properties is part of Hong Kong-listed Wheelock & Co Ltd.

Ong, Ban and Wheelock have been long-term shareholders of Hotel Properties and have decided to consolidate their shareholding so they can “implement their shared objectives for HPL and to enhance value over time”, according to the filing.

Hotel Properties owns and operates hotels, and has businesses in property development and investment holding. The company has a portfolio of 28 hotels and resorts spread across 13 countries, according to its website.

The Hotel Properties offer comes a day after CapitaLand Ltd , Southeast Asia’s biggest property developer, said it had bid S$3.06 billion to buy out minority shareholders in its 65%-owned CapitaMalls Asia Ltd.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 16, 2014.


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