4 Key Insights from Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust’s Chief Executive Officer

Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust (SGX: T82U) was listed in 2004 and is one of the largest REITs in Singapore.

As its name suggests, Suntec REIT has a significant stake in Suntec City. But there’s more to the REIT. It also has a one-third interest in each of One Raffles QuayMarina Bay Financial Centre (Tower 1 and Tower 2), and the Marina Bay Link Mall. In addition, the REIT has interests in two commercial buildings in Australia.

There may be interesting things for investors to learn from Suntec REIT. Last week, Chan Kong Leong, the chief executive officer of Suntec REIT’s manager, was featured on the kopi-C interview series by stock exchange operator Singapore Exchange.

Here are four key insights from the interview I picked out that may be useful for investors:

1. Back to fundamentals click here

2. The Suntec ecosystem click here

3. Winds of change

Chan believes that the retail landscape is changing. He added that in some areas (like payments) China has embraced digital solutions faster than Singapore:  

“Look at how China has embraced the digital revolution – they moved quickly into mobile payment gateways, and now they are way ahead of Singapore in digital payments.”

Chan believes that it is important to keep track of changes outside Singapore as it could one day turn up in Singapore:

“Such developments give you an idea of what the market will move towards, and a sense of things to come, which in turn offer a perspective on how we can compete.”

4. While the assets sleep …   

Chan added another interesting perspective on physical assets:

“The mall operates from 10am to 10pm. In other words, the asset sleeps when we do. But physical concrete doesn’t need rest, so the question is how do we raise utilisation rates during those periods?”

In the comment above, Chan believes that there are ways to maximise the use of an existing asset beyond the conventional operating hours. Last year, a 24/7 laundry locker service was rolled out for office tenants and shoppers. Chan believes that there are more possibilities beyond laundry:

“We plan to extend this locker service to other products, not just laundry. By harnessing the power of digital networks, we can upscale our service levels and make the asset work harder in delivering returns”  

Chan believes that retail landscape is changing. He added that China’s innovation could provide insight on the future:  

“Through that process, you see a lot of innovation – for example, how retailers and operators responded to the rapidly changing profile of shoppers. China’s consumer base has evolved very quickly over that short span of time.”

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice.The Motley Fool Singapore has recommended shares of Singapore Exchange. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong owns units in Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust.