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Funeral services provider eyeing Singapore real estate agency business

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Catalist-listed funeral services provider Asia-Pacific Strategic Investments (APS) has changed course again. This time round, it wants to move into an industry that some might say is nearly as moribund at present - becoming a Singapore real estate agent.

Catalist-listed funeral services provider Asia-Pacific Strategic Investments (APS) has changed course again, barely a month after it said it might be buying a gold mine in Kamchatka.

This time round, it wants to move into an industry that some might say is nearly as moribund at present - becoming a Singapore real estate agent.

The company said in a press release on Tuesday morning that it plans to "move decisively into the real estate agency business" and make that its core business, instead of relying on its funeral parlours and columbariums in Malaysia.

In line with those plans, it also proposed on Tuesday to buy Singapore real estate brokerage Global Alliance Property for S$2.75 million. This brokerage was recently formed from the merger of two local agencies, Global Property Strategic Alliance (GPS Alliance) and More Property, and has about 800 agents altogether.

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That is still a relatively small number compared with the top three real estate agencies here, which have more than 3,000 agents each. A merger between GPS Alliance, More Property and a third firm Trillion Property was reported in May this year to be underway, but Trillion was not mentioned in APS's statement about Global Alliance Property.

APS said that it will seek shareholders' approval for the move at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to be convened at a later date.

Before announcing this latest proposal, APS had said in an SGX filing in June that it was still in the midst of a S$500 million reverse takeover (RTO) deal involving Armenian miner Coeur Gold Armenia but needed even more time.

The sale and purchase agreement had been inked on February 25, 2014 and was originally supposed to be completed in four months from that date. However, APS said in June that it has extended the long-stop date for the deal for a fourth time to Oct 24, 2015.

This is because the miner is undergoing restructuring and needs more time to complete the purchase of a gold mine in Kamchatka that could potentially be included into the bundle of assets to be injected into the RTO, it said.

APS shares were flat at S$0.037 at around 11.30am on Tuesday.

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