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PIL’s high-rise HQ up for sale

Beleaguered Singaporean liner operator Pacific International Lines is reportedly selling its headquarters, in another sign of its financial struggles.

The Business Times, a Singaporean financial newspaper, cited sources in the local property market as saying that the building, located in the city-state’s central business district (CBD), is being discreetly sold through an expression-of-interest (EOI) exercise that closed on 17 July 2020.

PIL is said to be seeking a price of at least SG$350 million (US$253 million), translating to SG$3,265 (US$2,358) per sq ft, based on a net lettable area of 107,200 sq ft.

PIL declined to comment on the property sale when contacted by Container News.

The company said in June that it hopes to finalise a bailout with a unit of the Singapore government’s investment company, Temasek Holdings, by the end of September.

The family owned PIL is controlled by MD, Teo Siong Seng, whose family is also the majority shareholder in container manufacturer Singamas.

PIL is understood to have fallen behind on charterhire payments to its tonnage providers, which include Japanese ship owners. In recent months, PIL acted to improve its balance sheet, including exiting the Transpacific tradeselling a subsidiary, Pacific Direct Line, and a number of ships.

Container News understands that like many liner operators, Q1 2020 was dismal for PIL as the Covid-19 pandemic spread worldwide, unsettling supply chains and factory production. A PIL source told Container News that the company’s ship sales aim to raise cash to consolidate its current liner portfolio.

For H1 2019, PIL had a narrower net loss of US$65 million, compared with US$141.18 million in H1 2018. The company is delaying the release of its 2019 financial statements until the bailout discussions are completed.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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