Sale in the offing for Mandarin hotel and gallery?

Sale in the offing for Mandarin hotel and gallery?

A sale could be in the offing for the landmark Mandarin Orchard Singapore and the adjoining Mandarin Gallery which were valued at $1.18 billion and $520 million at the end of last year.

Owner Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE) is said to have been receiving interest from potential buyers particularly for the hotel for some time now and has maintained that it will sell the property if it receives a price too good to refuse.

Now, market talk is that OUE has given exclusivity to a potential buyer to perform due diligence. Some sources point to a US property fund manager - possibly Pramerica - teaming up with a Middle Eastern player, which some suggest could be Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

In July, a fund linked to Pramerica Real Estate Investors (Asia) sold a half stake in nex mall here next to Serangoon MRT Station for $825 million. Pramerica Asia is the real estate investment management arm of Prudential Financial. The deal valued the mall at $1.65 billion, or about $2,679 per square foot (psf) based on the current net lettable area.

However, there have also been suggestions that Saudi Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holdings has looked at the Mandarin Orchard hotel. Earlier this year, Toronto-based hotel chain Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, in which Kingdom has a stake, completed the sale of the historic Raffles Hotel on Singapore's Beach Road to the Qatar National Hotels Company.

Mandarin Orchard's $1.18 billion valuation in OUE's books works out to around $1.12 million per key for the 1,051-room property. If a transaction materialises at this price or higher, it would be a record for the Singapore hotel market.

While the hotel has been achieving strong cash flow aided by Singapore's tourism boom, analysts note that both the hotel and Mandarin Gallery are on a site with a remaining lease term of about 44 years. The reversionary interest in the land is held by Ngee Ann Kongsi.
The hotel comprises two towers of 37 and 39 storeys. Last year, it achieved an average room rate of about $277.
Mandarin Gallery - completed in late 2009 and boasting a 152-metre long frontage on Orchard Road - has a gross floor area of 196,337 sq ft.

OUE is controlled by Indonesia's Riady family, which owns the Lippo Group. The Riadys are not averse to selling their investments. In 2008, Lippo sold its 29.99 per cent stake in homegrown retail group Robinson to Al-Futtaim Group.

OUE also owns DBS Building Towers One and Two along Shenton Way, which have around 900,000 sq ft let nettable area. It plans to convert the podium into a retail mall that will boast a 262-metre-long pedestrian frontage along Shenton Way.

The group also owns the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel, which it acquired in July last year for $299.5 million.

For the second quarter ended June 30, 2012, OUE posted a 13.3 per cent rise in net profit to $22.8 million, on the back of a stronger topline. Revenue for the April-June quarter came in at $96.7 million, up 33.8 per cent, mainly driven by increased contributions from the group's hospitality and property investment divisions.

Source: Business Times – 19 September 2012