CREO may abandon UK listing for Singapore
CHINA Real Estate Opportunities, which is controlled by developers Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, may abandon its UK listing and seek a quotation in Singapore by June in a quest to deepen its investor base and tap stronger capital flows in Asia.
The company, which is two-thirds held by the Irish developers and is listed on London's AIM market, owns about £840m (€931m) worth of office, retail and residential property in China.
It said yesterday it plans to consult shareholders on the move aimed at narrowing the gap between the value of land it owns and the company's market capitalisation.
CREO was listed on the AIM in 2007 to help finance expansion in Asia.
Mr Ronan and Mr Barrett had been involved in the Chinese market and bought London's iconic Battersea Power Station from the wealthy Hwang family in 2006.
Part of the debt linked to world's largest brick building is set to transfer to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) within weeks.
The two men made more than €52m in performance and management fees last year but just €9.2m this year.
Last year's performance fee was bolstered by unexpected currency fluctuations. No performance fee was paid this year.
The company also announced that it would buy shares by tender totalling as much as £15m. The firm held a roadshow for investors last month which attracted as many as 50 people in Dublin.
CREO posted a net asset value of £11.37 per share at December 31, a rise of 7pc from June 30 and a 14pc fall on December 31, 2008. It reported an 85pc occupancy rate across its portfolio and an 11pc rise in gross rental income to £29m.
The company added that rental income was stable in local currency "despite lower average occupancy across the portfolio" as it raised rents by as much as 5pc.
"Significant progress" was also reported in the firm's strategic objectives to refinance investment assets and strengthen its capital position by selling buildings for around £35m.
"Important milestones were reached such as the refinancing of the Treasury Building and the sale of the non-core stake in Tangdao Bay.
"The financial position of the company has been considerably strengthened and the board remains confident about the outlook for the company," CREO added.