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Monday, 29 October 2007

ARA Asset Management Limited

(IPO booth at Raffles Place on a gloomy afternoon)

This is one of the more interesting IPO that comes to the market. If you are familiar with REITs as an investment asset class, this is one level higher. This IPO is about the Fund Manager that manages the REITs. The 'revenue' for the Fund Manager is mainly derived from the management fees for managing the REITS and private funds under its care as well as performance fees for the private funds. The listed REITs under its care are Fortune REIT, Suntec REIT, Properity REIT and AmFIRST REIT. There are a few private funds but the major private fund will be ARA Asia Dragon Fund with a targeted fund size of US$1.3 billion by end of 2007. The ARA Asia Dragon Fund has a life span of 7 years and will contribute positive to ARA till 2014. The Asset Under Management will increase with the final closing of ARA Asia Dragon Fund.

Although there is no guarantee of dividends for this Company (which doesnt make sense anyway since dividends are not tax-free), you can literally participate in the growth of the REIT sector by becoming a shareholder of the REIT Fund Manager. The endorsement by Cheung Kong and corner stone investors such as Fidelity Hong Kong, Mecury and Merill Lynch also help ensure this is a hot issue although i must admit that this counter is not 'cheap' based on the IPO price and 2007/08 earnings. Anyway, the Founder and CEO, John Lim, is going to be a very rich man after this IPO! (easily worth > S$200m)

Placement - 181.876m
Public - 15m
"Friends & Family" - 8.3m

The chances of getting 1 or 2 lots from the public tranche is high . Good luck. Vested.

On the downside, there are some issues which you may need to consider for investing in a Property Fund Manager:
(1) Depreciating US$/S$ if management fees are mainly in US$
(2) Potential conflict of interest between the funds managed by the Fund Manager that may result in lawsuits.

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