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Ascendas Reit prices preferential offering at S$2.96 per new unit

505 Brannan Street in San Francisco is a six-storey building fully leased to Pinterest - Ascendas Reit.jpg
Some S$380 million of the proceeds will partially fund the purchase of two office buildings in San Francisco, including 505 Brannan Street (pictured).

AS part of its S$1.2 billion equity fundraising, Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Ascendas Reit) has fixed the issue price for its preferential offering to unitholders at S$2.96 per new unit, the bottom end of the indicative range.

That is at a 7.8 per cent discount to the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) of S$3.2096 for all trades done in the units on Nov 9, up to the time the underwriting agreement was signed on Nov 10.

A total of 133.9 million preferential offering units will be issued, on the basis of 37 new units for every 1,000 existing units held at the record date of Nov 18, 5pm.

Meanwhile, the private placement under the equity fundraising was priced at S$3.026, also at the low end of the indicative price range, said the Reit manager in a filing on Wednesday.

The manager did not disclose the subscription rate for the placement, but said some 264.4 million new units will be placed out - the upper end of the indicative range announced on Tuesday - to institutional, accredited and other investors.

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The placement's issue price represents a 5.7 per cent discount to the VWAP. It was agreed between the manager and the joint global coordinators and bookrunners, DBS and JPMorgan, after an accelerated bookbuilding process.

Gross proceeds will total some S$800 million from the private placement and about S$396.5 million from the preferential offering, the Reit manager said on Wednesday.

It plans to declare an advanced distribution of the distributable income for the period from July 1, 2020 to the day immediately prior to the date on which the placement's new units are issued.

The placement units are expected to be listed on Nov 19. The Reit manager estimated that the quantum of the advanced distribution will be about 5.74 Singapore cents per unit, and will announce the actual amount in due course.

The advanced distribution is being proposed as a means to ensure fairness to holders of existing units, said the manager. Holders of the new units from the placement will not be entitled to the advanced distribution and will not be eligible to participate in the preferential offering.

The next distribution, after the advanced distribution, will comprise Ascendas Reit's distributable income for the period from the day the placement units are issued to Dec 31, 2020. Semi-annual distributions will resume thereafter.

The S$1.2 billion equity fundraising was launched on Tuesday to finance potential and proposed acquisitions in the US, Europe and Australia.

Some S$380 million of the fundraising's gross proceeds will partially finance the proposed US$560.2 million purchase of two freehold office buildings in San Francisco fully leased to payments giant Stripe and image-sharing platform Pinterest.

About half of the proceeds, or S$614 million, will go into funding the potential acquisition of a portfolio of data centres in Europe, while another S$180 million will be used for the potential acquisition of a suburban office property in Australia. These two deals are subject to the completion of negotiations with the sellers and satisfactory due diligence.

The Reit manager requested a trading halt on Tuesday morning, and lifted it on Wednesday. The counter closed at S$3.19 on Monday.

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