The Hong Kong stock exchange has approved the proposed delisting of Singapore-based rental accommodation specialist Centurion Corp.
The HKEX’s listing committee gave the go-ahead last Thursday, Centurion said Monday in a filing. The plan still requires the approval of shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting.
“A further announcement will be made by the company upon all conditions for the withdrawal of listing have been satisfied,” said Centurion CEO Kong Chee Min.
The company led by co-chairmen Han Seng Juan and David Loh Kim Kang announced in June that it intended to leave the Hong Kong bourse, citing the burden of regulatory compliance. Centurion plans to maintain its presence on the Singapore Exchange.
Centurion, which develops and operates purpose-built student and worker rental housing across five markets, has sought to streamline its recovering operations, including with the disposal of its sole Korean asset in April to exit an unprofitable market.
Centurion had raised HK$69.7 million in net proceeds when it established a second primary listing on the HKEX in December 2017.
At the time of the June announcement, Centurion’s HK$1.98 stock price was down 38 percent from its 2017 HKEX IPO price of HK$3.18 and 7 percent below its 2023 peak of HK$2.13 at the start of February. Shares closed Tuesday at HK$2.56, up 10.3 percent on the session.
Post-delisting, shareholders can opt to continue to hold the Hong Kong shares on a private basis or deposit their shares with the SGX for trading on the Singapore bourse.
“The directors believe that the proposed delisting is in the best interests of shareholders and the company as a whole,” Centurion said last month. “The directors do not expect that the implementation of the proposed delisting (will) adversely affect the business of the group, but expect that it will enable the company to effect cost savings.”
Turnaround Beats Views
Centurion’s SGX-listed stock is up 28 percent in the year to date, and analysts are forecasting a bright outlook for the developer after stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings.
During the first three months of the year, the firm achieved a 5 percent increase in revenue compared with the same period in 2022, bringing in S$47 million via improving performance for both its student and worker strategies.
By geography, Centurion saw its strongest growth in Australia, where revenue surged 73 percent year-on-year to reach S$3.2 million during the period on strong demand for student housing. In Malaysia, a 44 percent jump in revenue brought in S$4.9 million, thanks to higher occupancy at its worker dormitories.
The company’s controlling shareholder, Centurion Properties, earlier this year proposed to build a 732-unit student housing complex in Macquarie Park, Sydney, near Macquarie University. The project, still pending government approval, is estimated to cost A$132.17 million ($91.5 million at the time the project was announced).
Centurion is also set to develop a 1,650-bed worker dormitory in Ubi Avenue 3 in Geylang, together with SGX-listed joint venture partner Lian Beng Group. UOB Kay Hian expects the firm to redeploy the capital raised from its Korean exit into markets with higher growth potential like Malaysia.