Riady dangles payout for OUE shareholders

Riady dangles payout for OUE shareholders

SINGAPORE - A special dividend awaits shareholders of Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE). The property firm's executive chairman Stephen Riady said in an interview with BT that it will make a payout to shareholders following the listing of its hospitality and retail real estate investment trust (Reit), which is expected to be launched soon pending market conditions.

"Our shareholders are waiting excitedly and would want to be rewarded. So the first thing we must think of is our shareholders, and reward them. Then, of course, you will also look at the extra money you've got and think of expansion.

"We have to balance this, rewarding shareholders and growth," he said.

OUE has yet to announce the size of the listing, but reports have placed it at between US$600 million and US$800 million. Sources have told BT that the plan is for the Reit to be priced and listed in July, though the current uncertain market conditions may change that.

Mr Riady also shared his asset enhancement plans for the US Bank Tower, located in downtown Los Angeles and is the tallest building in California. OUE snapped it up for US$367.5 million (S$462.7 million) and the acquisition of the building, which has an area of 1.4 million square feet, was completed yesterday.

It currently comprises 72 floors of office space and six levels of underground parking, and is about 56.3 per cent occupied.

Mr Riady said OUE has no plans to increase office tenancy in the building for the top floors, where much of the vacancy is.

This is because it intends to transform the top floors into a hospitality and food & beverage space.

The highest three levels, he said, will be turned into an observatory for people to "go up and eat, drink and see the view".

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