SHARES of Ayala-led AREIT, Inc., the country’s first real estate investment trust (REIT), tumbled in its market debut on Thursday.

AREIT’s shares closed 7.78% lower at P24.90 apiece from its offer price of P27, while the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed 1.71% higher on Thursday.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Piper Chaucer E. Tan said there were “some technical issues with the brokers,” which contributed to the slump in AREIT’s share price.

“And also, the market was followed by uncertain sentiment. I think that the price discovery towards AREIT factored in also to the drop in share price,” he said.

At the listing ceremony, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Ayala Land, Inc.’s (ALI) REIT public offering signals that the market is ready to resume business after the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This public offering is a strong vote of confidence in our good economic prospects and in the resiliency of many of our industry sectors, some of which will be occupants of ALI’s REIT properties,” Mr. Dominguez said.

“It shares in the optimism that, notwithstanding the global economic downturn today, the Philippine economy has strong fundamentals to rise quickly from the devastation brought about by the global health emergency,” he added.

AREIT’s portfolio consists of three office buildings in Makati City: 24-storey commercial building Solaris One, mixed-use development Ayala North Exchange and five-storey commercial office McKinley Exchange.

“This global pandemic has indeed plunged the world into a recession. However, the Philippine capital markets are still looking hopeful with the introduction of the REIT as a new investment product,” Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Emilio B. Aquino said.

Mr. Aquino said he hopes there will be a “capital boom” in 2021. — Arjay L. Balinbin