May 21, 2015 / 9:54 AM / 4 years ago

Manulife plans $450 million IPO of U.S assets in Singapore: sources

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) 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 (JPM.N) 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 capitalization of more than S$83 billion ($62 billion), the bourse SGX said in March.

Reporting by Saeed Azhar and S. Anuradha of IFR; Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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