BHG Retail Reit closes stores at two China malls to contain virus spread

BHG Retail Real Estate Investment Trust (BHG Retail Reit) has temporarily closed all stores except for the supermarkets and certain food and beverage (F&B) outlets providing delivery services at two of its malls in China.

This is in compliance with the Hefei authorities’ notice on Feb 6 in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the manager of the pure-play China retail real estate investment trust (Reit) said on Friday night.

The two properties are Hefei Mengchenglu Mall and Hefei Changjianxilu Mall. Both are located in Hefei, the capital and largest city of Anhui province in eastern China. Hefei is about 600 kilometres away from the central Hubei province, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Reit’s portfolio includes four other malls in China: in Dalian, Liaoning province; in Xining, Qinghai province; in Chengdu, Sichuan province; and a 60 per cent stake in a mall in Beijing.

The notice from the local authorities requires the temporary closure of Hefei’s mixed commercial complexes, mixed commercial malls, shopping streets, wholesale markets and all other public venues that are not related to the provision of basic necessities.

Under the notice, F&B outlets that provide delivery services as well as supermarkets are allowed to continue operating, but must adhere to the relevant regulations for epidemic prevention and control.

BHG Retail Reit’s manager said it will work closely with the Reit’s sponsor, China-based Beijing Hualian Department Store Co, to monitor the developments.

The manager aims to reopen the affected stores as soon as possible.

Units in the Reit were trading flat at S$0.68 as at 10.56am on Monday.