By Neil Jerome Morales
MANILA, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The Philippines' DoubleDragon Properties Corp DD.PS plans a sale of shares worth up to 66 billion pesos ($1.3 billion) in a real estate investment trust (REIT), starting this year, to generate funds for expansion, its chairman said on Wednesday.
DoubleDragon is one of the largest landlords of Chinese offshore gaming operators, which are the biggest office tenants in Manila, the capital, occupying 1.26 million sq. m. of space by the end of 2019, data from Colliers International shows.
Last month, the Philippines made rules on REITs more attractive by lowering public float requirements and offering tax perks, a move expected to entice property firms to tap the markets for new capital.
DoubleDragon plans annual share sales of 11 billion pesos ($217.56 million) in its REIT from 2020 to 2025, Chairman Edgar Sia told Reuters in an e-mail.
Each REIT offer will include 200,000 sqm of DoubleDragon's leasing assets, he added.
"We intend to choose the most mature assets for the first tranche of REIT listing in the first year, and then the following year choose another batch of leasable space that has ripened and matured that year," Sia said.
Property firms shied away from the REIT law of 2009 because of a high public ownership requirement and transaction taxes.
Last week, Ayala Land Inc ALI.PS filed an application for a share sale of up to 14.4 billion pesos ($284.9 million) in a REIT, the country's first.
REITs, which manage real estate assets such as hotels, office buildings and malls that regularly generate profits, are attractive to investors seeking regular dividends.
DoubleDragon targets a portfolio of 1.2 million sq.m. of office leasing, provincial retail and industrial warehouse by 2020.
New funds from the REIT offering will be used for provincial projects, Sia said. Most of DoubleDragon's commercial projects are in the provinces, where retail is not as saturated as the capital.
($1=50.54 Philippine pesos)
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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