Burdened by substantial debt reliance communications has for some time now wanted to unlock value in its undersea cable business flag telecom. For a variety of reasons, Flag could not make a vanilla global equity listing. Now its decided to go public in Singapore via a trust structure. Why Singapore? Why Trust? Payaswini Upadhyay goes in search of some answers.
In 2007, Ascendas India Trust went public as Singapore's first listed business trust holding Indian IT park assets
In 2008, Indiabulls Properties Investment Trust listed on the Singapore stock exchange with commercial property in Mumbai as the underlying asset
Just 2 months ago, Fortis group owned Religare Healthcare Trust received an eligibility to list approval from the Singapore stock exchange
And this month, Reliance Communications owned Global Telecommunications Infrastructure Trust filed an initial prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to list its undersea cable business.
- all sign of the growing popularity of this route. Before we get to the why, heres the how. In a typical business trust structure, the Indian company creates or uses an overseas subsidiary as a sponsor. The sponsor incorporates a Singapore based company as trustee manager. The trustee manager owns and manages the assets, the economic interest of which is sold via units of the trust, also established in Singapore. The units are listed on the Singapore stock exchange.
Partner, Rajah & Tann
It is essentially a hybrid structure that has the elements both of a trust and a company. Like a company, a business trust is established to run a business. However, it is not a separate legal entity. It is actually constituted by a trust deed. Under the trust deed, the trustee manager, which is the single responsible entity for the business trust, has the legal ownership of the assets of the trust and also manages the assets of the trust for beneficiaries of the trust.