SINGAPORE (Dec 27): Questions regarding Eagle Hospitality Trust’s (EHT) sponsor and its assets may once again throw the spotlight on Singapore’s external manager model and the motivation of foreign sponsors in listing their real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Singapore.

First off, an externally managed REIT operates like a fund, with the manager being a third party that earns a fee for managing the REIT. In an internally managed REIT, the REIT employs the manager and support staff instead of outsourcing the task to an outsider.

In a wide-ranging interview recently, Eng-Kwok Seat Moey, managing director and head of equity capital markets at DBS Group Holdings, recounts her experience with the very first REIT listing in Singapore, the different parts that need to come in place for a listing and the opportunities ahead. CapitaLand Mall Trust’s first attempt to list as Singapore Property Trust was not successful. SPT was eventually listed in 2002 as CMT, with three malls — Tampines Mall, Junction 8 and Funan — valued at $895 million, a far cry from its current asset size of $10 billion. At its IPO price of 96 cents, its distribution per unit (DPU) yield was 7.66%. One of CMT’s largest assets, a 40% stake in Raffles City, was acquired after it was listed. CMT’s sister REIT, CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT), owns 60% of Raffles City.

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