SINGAPORE (Jan 28): Sasseur Real Estate Investment Trust (Sasseur REIT) has temporarily closed all four retail outlet malls in its portfolio in response to the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus that has infected more than 2,800 people and killed at least 80.

The REIT manager on Tuesday announced that sponsor Sasseur Cayman Holding has implemented the temporary closure of the four outlet malls owned by Sasseur REIT in Chongqing, Bishan, Hefei and Kunming.

The Chongqing and Bishan outlet malls have been temporarily closed from Jan 26, while the Hefei and Kunming outlet malls have been temporarily closed from Jan 27.

Seven other outlet malls owned or managed by the sponsor in China have also been progressively closed since Jan 26.

Sasseur REIT says the re-opening dates of all these 11 malls “will be announced in due course”.

“These efforts are intended to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” the REIT manager says. “In view of the exceptional circumstances currently, these measures are considered a top priority.”

See: Singapore confirms first case of Wuhan virus. Here's what investors need to know.

Sasseur notes that the local authorities have not imposed any regulations to direct the closures of malls.

However, the group says it has decided to temporarily close the malls as a precautionary measure “after careful consideration”.

“As a group that focuses on long-term sustainable business practices, the sponsor and the manager will not hesitate to take all necessary short-term measures to safeguard the health and safety of the shoppers, customers, employees and the general public,” the REIT manager says.

In addition, the sponsor has formed a high-level management task force to closely monitor the current situation so as to take appropriate actions.

“As the situation relating to the spread of the virus remains uncertain and fluid, it is currently difficult for the manager to ascertain the full financial impact of the crisis on the financial performance of Sasser REIT,” the manager says.

It adds that of the crisis is resolved in the short term, there should not be material financial impact to Sasseur REIT.

Shares in Sasseur REIT opened 10.3% lower, or down 9 cents, at 78.5 cents on Tuesday.