SINGAPORE (Dec 31): Real estate investment trusts were bankers’ best friend in 2018.

S-REITs raised $4.4 billion through a mixture of rights issues, preferential share offerings, placements and perpetual securities (see table). Separately, the February IPO of Sasseur REIT, which owns four outlet malls in China, raised $421.6 million — eclipsing all other IPOs during the year. Taken together, the REITs raised more equity than the rest of the market.

Despite raising the most monies, however, Sasseur REIT performed poorly, down 14.5 cents, a loss of 18% for the year. Part of the reason is the poor reception to the outlet mall model. Also, the REIT is sponsored by an unfamiliar mainland Chinese company. In addition, Sasseur REIT’s lease and rental structures are different from those of traditional retail REITs. And, its claim that it is unaffected by ecommerce has been met with scepticism.  

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