UEL’s large portfolio of properties includes shopping centres, hotels and condominiums. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The major stakeholders of United Engineers Ltd (UEL) have narrowed down their list of potential bidders to five companies, including Ascendas-Singbridge and Perennial Real Estate Holdings, reported Bloomberg, citing sources privy to the matter.
American private equity firm KKR & Co., Malaysia’s Samling Group and Mulpha International Bhd were also shortlisted, and the five were invited to begin due diligence.
Final offers for the Singapore property group, which has a market capitalisation of $1.9 billion, are expected to be due by end-March, said sources who wanted to remain anonymous as the info is private.
In January, UEL’s largest owners Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and the lender’s insurance arm Great Eastern Holdings, announced that they were assessing strategic options for their combined stake in the firm, and had appointed Credit Suisse Group AG to advise on this undertaking.
Given that the biggest stockholders, including the bank’s founding Lee family, collectively hold over 30 percent in UEL, purchasing their entire stake would prompt a mandatory takeover offer for the firm under the rules of the local bourse.
Although five firms have already been shortlisted for the bidding, it is still uncertain if this will result in a deal. Nevertheless, the successful buyer would acquire a massive property portfolio that includes integrated projects like UE BizHub City and Singapore shopping centres such as Rochester Mall, as well as hotels, condominiums and serviced apartments.
Singapore-based Ascendas-Singbridge is known for planning and building large-scale towns, industrial developments and business parks. It is controlled by Temasek Holdings and has projects in 29 cities across 10 countries.
Perennial Real Estate Holdings is also headquartered in the city-state. It is a developer and property owner, with interest in local projects like AXA Tower and the Capitol retail and residential complex.
Meanwhile, Mulpha International Bhd is a Kuala Lumpur-listed property firm used as an investment vehicle by Malaysian tycoon Lee Ming Tee, while Malaysia-based Samling Group specialises in forest resource management, property development and car dealerships, among others.
Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email email@example.com