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Treasury China Trust Puts Commercial Building In Shanghai Up For Sale – Sources
Dow Jones Newswires | 28 March 2012

Treasury China Trust, a Singapore-listed business trust focused on commercial real estate in China, is looking to sell an office-cum-retail building in downtown Shanghai, people familiar with the situation said Tuesday.

The 22-storey Central Plaza, located near the People’s Square, was valued at Rmb1.79 billion ($284 million) as of 31 December 2011, according to the trust’s latest financial statement. The building’s tenants include Boston Consulting Group and Metlife Insurance.

The trust invited bids from investors a few weeks ago and those interested would have already submitted an expression of interest on Friday, said the people, who declined to be named.

“The building is fully leased and is in a good location. They are probably seeking a bid near the book value but we feel that the price is too high,” said one of the people. He did not elaborate.

Jones Lang LaSalle is the broker for the sale, two of the people said.

Treasury China Trust declined to comment on the matter.

The trust currently owns a number of office and retail properties in Beijing, Shanghai and Qingdao.

While it is unclear how much financing pressure the trust faces, property players across China are indisputably confronted with tighter cashflows given Beijing’s two-year-long tightening campaign, which includes curbs on lending to the real estate sector.

The trust recently delayed distributing dividends for the second half of 2011, “given the liquidity issues associated with the significant tightening of the banking sector since early 2011,” and the ongoing development of another project in Shanghai, the company said in its 2011 financial statement published last month.

“Payments to contractors and sub-contractors remain in accordance with various contracts, however lack of certainty regarding timing of access to payments from the approved loans requires (the trust) to ensure that it has adequate cash reserves across 2012,” it said.

According to the financial statement, the trust’s gearing, or debt-to-asset ratio, was at 32 percent as of 31 December, down from 34.6 percent reported six months earlier.

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