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Mapletree Industrial Trust emerges as proxy play for Covid-19 pandemic

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore 11/27/2020 07:00 AM GMT+08  • 18 min read
Mapletree Industrial Trust emerges as proxy play for Covid-19 pandemic
Mapletree Industrial Trust's pivot to data centres provides upside to its valuation.
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Since the IPO of Mapletree Industrial Trust (MINT) in 2010, the unassuming and soft-spoken CEO of MINT’s manager Tham Kuo Wei, has gradually increased the REIT’s exposure to data centres.

MINT’s knowledge of data centres started with the development of build-to-suit data centres in Singapore. MINT’s first build-to-suit data centre development was Tata Communications Exchange in 2010 (prior to the listing of MINT). The property has been rebranded as STT Tai Seng 1. In 2015, MINT completed another build-to-suit data centre, 26A Ayer Rajah Crescent for Equinix Singapore. In 2015, MINT started the redevelopment of a cluster of flatted factories at 1 & 1A Depot Close into a build-to-suit development for HP Inc which includes facilities for manufacturing, product and software development, customer service and an office. That project was completed in June 2017. In September that same year, MINT announced it was expanding its investment strategy to include data centres beyond Singapore. At that time, Tham had pointed out the need to expand into a jurisdiction which had data centres with long leases on freehold land to help improve the quality of the portfolio and stability of returns to unitholders.

A month later, MINT announced it had acquired a 40% stake in a portfolio of 14 data centres in the US, known as Mapletree Redwood Data Centre Trust (MRDCT), in partnership with sponsor Mapletree Investments in a 60:40 split.

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