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Property

Ayala readies Philippines' first REIT to raise $300m

Deregulation set to unleash listings from developers

The Manila skyline: A thicket of regulations has discouraged Philippine enterprises from listing real estate investment trusts. (Photo by Jun Endo)

MANILA -- Philippine conglomerate Ayala has applied to list the country's first real estate investment trust, with the float expected to raise roughly 15 billion pesos ($294 million).

Ayala Land, the group's property arm, will offer 478.64 million new and existing shares in the REIT, according to filings submitted Friday to the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission. Each share will be priced at 30.05 pesos, though no date has been set.

The Philippines has offered a legal framework for listing REITs on the stock market since 2009. But stringent regulatory requirements -- such as a minimum public ownership of 67% within three years -- had discouraged any player from taking the plunge.

Eased restrictions that took effect in January spurred Ayala to float its investment trust.

AREIT, the trust created by Ayala Land, contains three properties including a set of commercial buildings in Makati, a city in the Metro Manila region. After the listing, the REIT plans to acquire from a group company an office building in the city of Cebu.

The demand to lease office space has risen along with the Southeast Asian nation's economic growth. Ayala will allocate money raised from listing REITs toward fresh real estate development.

Rivals such as DoubleDragon Properties have expressed interest in floating REITs as well, setting the stage for a flurry of investments in the market.

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