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Prudential financial’s PGIM struggles to sell Singapore towers

PGIM Real Estate has been trying to sell a pair of prime office towers in Singapore since last year without success. (Photo: Business Wire)
PGIM Real Estate has been trying to sell a pair of prime office towers in Singapore since last year without success. (Photo: Business Wire) (Business Wire)

By Low De Wei

(Bloomberg) — PGIM Real Estate has been trying to sell a pair of prime office towers in Singapore since last year without success, people with knowledge of the matter said, the latest sign of the country’s softening property market.

Efforts to divest 78 Shenton Way in the central business district have stalled as prospective buyers bid below what the real estate manager bought it for, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.

PGIM Real Estate acquired the 362,051 square foot (33,636 square meter) development in late 2018 for S$680 million ($498 million) from a private fund management arm of Keppel Ltd., according to press reports at the time.

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A spokesperson for PGIM declined to comment.

Singapore office demand has stayed relatively resilient in recent years — avoiding the deep slump in markets such as the US — but some tenants are now paring space in the CBD to save costs. Office rents in the city state are expected to fall this year as occupancy slips from high levels, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Commercial property investment in Singapore fell almost 21% in the first quarter from the previous three months to S$1.3 billion, data compiled by Savills Research show. It expects the number and size of deals to remain below pre-pandemic levels even as borrowing costs dip.

The Singapore market recently suffered another blow when a deal by a Chinese commodities tycoon to acquire a shopping mall, which was set to be the largest commercial transaction in 2023, collapsed due to a regulatory snag.

PGIM Real Estate is a part of PGIM, the $1.3 trillion investment management business of Prudential Financial Inc. It manages more than $8 billion in Asia, out of $210 billion globally.

—With assistance from Krystal Chia.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.