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BANGKOK-Central Pattana Public Company Ltd. is launching Thailand’s largest property trust with a $265 million (baht 11 billion) initial public offering that began Monday and ends next Tuesday. There are only a handful of property trusts in Thailand and this fund, the first in Thailand to be focused on retail, is six times larger than any of the others.Locally based Central Pattana is purchasing 33% of the investment units in the property trust, which is called CPN Retail Growth Property Fund. Other investors include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, International Finance Bank, Asian Development Bank, DEG (a member of Germany’s KfW Group) and the Ministry of Finance of the Government of Thailand.Proceeds from the IPO will be used to purchase certain buildings and leasehold rights on two shopping malls: Central Plaza Rama 2 (2.7 million sf) and Central Plaza Ratchada-Rama 3 (1.8 million sf). The fund will have a 20-year leasehold right on Central Plaza Rama 2 and an effective 90-year leasehold right on Central Plaza Rama 3.Similar to U.S. REITs, the fund is required to payout at least 90% of net profits as dividends, which will be paid up to four times a year. Revenues from the fund will mainly come from fixed rental contracts with varying maturities. The dividend yield to investors of the fund for the first 12 months is expected to be 7.30%, according to the fund’s sponsor and Central Pattana board member, San Francisco-based Lombard Investments. Lombard’s Thailand Equity Fund invested approximately $24 million in Central Pattana to help finance the redevelopment of Central World Plaza and provide capital for other acquisitions. Central Pattana was founded in 1980 and has grown to become one of Thailand’s top developers and operators of major shopping malls and office buildings, primarily in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. Central Pattana owns nine shopping malls with total retail space of approximately 5.7 million sf.

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