SG Dealbook: NUS launches Block71 Suzhou; AA REIT raises funds; Neo Group eyes acquisitions

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NUS launched a new Block71 in Suzhou, AA REIT raises S$55 million in a private placement and Neo Group is in talks for potential acquisitions.

NUS launches Block71 Suzhou

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has launched BLOCK71 Suzhou, a new initiative aimed at providing support for Singapore entrepreneurs and technology startups looking to explore potential business opportunities in China.

An extension of Singapore’s BLOCK71 business startup ecosystem concept, it is jointly developed and managed by NUS Enterprise, NUSRI and Ascendas-Singbridge.

This also expands the NUS footprint in Suzhou; in 2013, it established the NUS (Suzhou) Research Institute (NUSRI) in collaboration with the Suzhou Industrial Administrative Committee (SIPAC).

BLOCK71 Suzhou comprises two facilities which are located within Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). Enterprises and individuals using these can benefit from incubation support; access to innovative technologies and research from NUSRI and partnering Chinese research institutes; technology commercialisation support; as well as access to global networks and resources.

The first location is developed in partnership with NUSRI and will focus on supporting deep tech start-ups. It will also encourage innovation and commercialization efforts in technology domains such as artificial intelligence (AI), biomedical sciences, cloud computing, robotics and smart devices. The second location at Ascendas iHub Suzhou is developed in partnership with NUSRI and Ascendas-Singbridge and will commence operations in Q2 2018.

Tan Eng Chye, NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost, said, “NUSRI demonstrates a win-win partnership between Singapore and China. Over the last seven years, NUSRI has served as gateway for NUS to partner institutions in China to boost the research, education and entrepreneurship activities that the university has been actively spearheading.”

AA REIT raises $40.8m in private placement

The manager of AIMS AMP Capital Industrial REIT (AA REIT) has raised gross proceeds of S$55 million ($40.85 million) through an overnight private placement of 42.1 million new units priced at S$1.305 each.

This price represents a discount of 6.9 per cent to AA REIT’s volume weighted average traded price of S$1.402 per unit on Monday, 20 November. Maybank Kim Eng Securities was the sole bookrunner and underwriter of the placement.

According to AIMS AMP Capital Industrial REIT Management, the placement saw strong demand from institutional investors, family offices and high net worth individuals (HNIs); this strong demand enabled AA REIT to exercise the upsize option, leading it to increase the offer size from S$50 million to S$55 million

Proceeds will be used to repay AA REIT’s existing borrowings to reduce aggregate leverage and create additional debt headroom for future potential acquisitions, asset enhancement initiatives or other development opportunities.

Neo Group in talks to acquire stake in restaurants

Food caterer Neo Group is discussing the potential acquisitions of undisclosed stakes in Jil & Yellowtail and Li Xin (1968) @ ION from their owners, Ng Hui Hui Rebecca and Lim Swee Meng.

The agreements are exclusive and will run from 22 November to 30 June 2018. Li Xin is primarily involved in the sale of Teochew fishball noodles in food courts and coffee shops, while Jil & Yellowtail was founded in 2013 and is primarily involved in the manufacturing of products including fishballs, fishcakes, fish dumplings and fried pork lard.

Its products are mainly supplied and sold to Li Xin’s retail outlets in Singapore.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.