Manulife plans $450 mln IPO of U.S assets in Singapore -sources

Thu May 21, 2015 5:49am EDT
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SINGAPORE May 21 (Reuters) - Canada's Manulife Financial Corp is seeking to list some of its U.S. property assets in Singapore in the second half of the year in an initial public offering worth $450 million, two people familiar with the deal said.

The listing would use the real estate investment trust (REIT) structure, they said, declining to be identified as the deal has not been formally announced.

The IPO may help lift a drought for new listings in Singapore, which has been one of the weakest IPO markets in Asia this year.

Singapore has, however, traditionally been popular for REIT and business trust listings, which offer high dividends to attract high net-worth individuals as well as institutional and retail investors.

DBS Bank and JPMorgan are advising Manulife on the IPO, the people said. Officials from Manulife and its advisers did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

The news of the planned IPO was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Manulife's U.S. real estate portfolio had a market value of $6.3 billion as of December 2014, according its website.

Singapore is the largest REIT hub in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan, with 28 REITs, 11 business trusts and six stapled trusts listed. They have a combined market capitalisation of more than S$83 billion ($62 billion), the bourse SGX said in March. ($1 = 1.3347 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Saeed Azhar and S. Anuradha of IFR; Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)