Robinsons Land drops plan to form Reit firm

[ ] September 30, 2011
by Jenniffer B. Austria

Robinsons Land Corp., the property unit of conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc., has joined other listed companies that have abandoned plans to list their assets through a real estate investment trust because of unattractive rules.

Robinsons Land vice chairman Lance Gokongwei said in an interview at the sidelines of the Asean 100 Forum held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel that it did not make financial sense to do a Reit given the current rules approved by the government.

“Given the constraints, given the current implementing rules, I think it does not make financial sense to do a Reit,” Gokongwei said. “Definitely we are not pushing with our Reit plans,” he added.

SM Prime Holdings Corp., the Philippines’ biggest mall developer, in August said it was no longer pushing through with its plan to raise $500 million through Reit after the government doubled the public ownership requirement for property trusts.

The rules require a minimum public float of 40 percent for a Reit company and 67 percent within three years after listing.

Most real estate companies, however, want to retain majority ownership of the Reit.

Ayala Land Inc., meanwhile, is open to possible talks with the government in amending some of the rules on Reit law.

“The private sector is always willing to dialogue so we can get this thing implemented and moving as soon as possible,” Ayala Land president Antonino Aquino said.

Aquino said he expects “some tension” given the government’s drive to increase revenue collection and the incentives to be given to real estate firms under the Reit.

Aquino said the Reit was one program that could spur the growth and development of the country besides the public-private-partnership projects of the Aquino administration.

Robinsons Land, Ayala Land and SM Prime are three of the biggest real estate companies that earlier expressed interest in Reits for listing in the Philippine Stock Exchange.

PSE president Hans Sicat said the exchange had not received any single application for Reit listing. Bloomberg, AP
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