Singapore

SPH Reit AGM: Shareholders ask about online shopping threat

Shareholders at the SPH Reit annual general meeting yesterday asked if the real estate investment trust sponsored by media group Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) would add Seletar Mall to its portfolio.

The threat of online shopping was among other queries during the 90-minute meeting.

In response, chairman Leong Horn Kee said the Reit is always on the lookout 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 the rise of online shopping and e-commerce, 
Dr Leong said that 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 said 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 meeting and all resolutions raised were passed.

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