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Shareholders of SPH Reit ask about buying over Seletar Mall, threat of online shopping

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SHAREHOLDERS at the SPH Reit annual general meeting on Friday asked if the real estate investment trust sponsored by media group Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) would add Seletar Mall to its portfolio and queried about the threat of online shopping, among other things.

SHAREHOLDERS at the SPH Reit annual general meeting on Friday asked if the real estate investment trust sponsored by media group Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) would add Seletar Mall to its portfolio and queried about the threat of online shopping, among other things.

In response, chairman Leong Horn Kee said the Reit is always on the look out for accretive yield.

He said the Reit, whose portfolio comprises Paragon and The Clementi Mall, is interested in Seletar Mall, which is now owned by SPH, but the question is when SPH wants to sell it and more importantly, at what price.

As for questions on the rise of online shopping and e-commerce, Dr Leong said while this trend is getting more prominent, brick-and-mortar stores are still relevant, given that consumers still prefer to feel and look at the actual product before purchase.

In his opening remarks, Dr Leong also made the point that the retail environment remains challenging amid the economic slowdown in Singapore and the uncertainties of the global environment.

"Consumers' sentiment is muted. Retailers are also facing structural impediments such as labour constraints and competition from e-commerce," said Dr Leong.

He added that the Reit would continue to seek chances to create value and strengthen long-term sustainability of the properties.

About 150 shareholders attended the 90-minute meeting and all resolutions raised were passed.