SINGAPORE (Sept 17): Many analysts and investors seem to be betting that the offer price for Wheelock Properties will be raised. The way they see it, the underlying assets of the company are worth more than the $2.10 per share that its controlling shareholder has offered to pay. As at June 30, Wheelock had a net asset value (NAV) of $2.60 per share, which is 23.8% more than the offer price. And, since the offer was announced, Wheelock’s shares have risen sharply, and are currently trading at $2.15, some 2.4% above the offer price.

Ironically, Wheelock was chafing about a miserly offer six years ago for SC Global Developments, in which it owned a major stake. On Dec 5, 2012, SC Global’s controlling shareholder launched an offer to acquire the company at $1.80 per share. While the offer price for SC Global was more than 15% above its NAV at the time, the company had a large amount of unsold luxury apartments. Wheelock publicly stated at the time that, in its assessment, shares in SC Global were trading at a discount of 40% to 50% to its revalued NAV (RNAV). It also expressed dissatisfaction with the offer by buying SC Global shares in the market at more than the offer price of $1.80 per share.

Yet, Wheelock soon gave in. On Jan 16, 2013, the company said it had accepted the offer of $1.80 per share, and sold its entire 17.9% stake in SC Global, which paved the way for it to be delisted. Wheelock said at the time that it had just won a large residential site in Ang Mo Kio and wanted to focus on that project. But the aborted attempt by Wheelock to extract a higher price for SC Global also came as the government was piling on more cooling measures.

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