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Posts Tagged ‘Reits’

Do Reits have unintended commercial consequences for SMEs?

In Political economy, Property, Reits on 16/02/2012 at 6:45 am

I invest in Reits for the yields and the brokers and local media have discovered Reits as a great defensive play. But SMEs claim that Reits have caused their rentals to escalate unreasonably.  JTC has been asked to review its current policy of divesting industrial space to private entities (like its Ascendas).

Business Times – 02 Feb 2012

SMEs blame Reits for growing rental pains

JTC asked to review its current policy of divesting industrial space to private entities

By MINDY TAN

(SINGAPORE) Rising rentals for commercial and industrial space have emerged as a pressing issue for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and the fingers are pointed squarely at the dominance of real estate investment trusts or Reits as landlords.

The Reits’ drive to enhance yields and returns for unit holders – which usually translates into rental hikes – have left many SME owners, who feel they have limited alternatives here, fuming.

It has also led to calls – including a recommendation by the newly formed SME Committee – for JTC Corp to review its current policy of divesting industrial space to private entities like Reits and return to its previous role of an industrial landlord, so that it can provide ready and affordable industrial space to SMEs.

‘Rentals and capital values of properties are going up, impacting business costs for SME owners and eating into their bottomline,’ said Lawrence Leow, chairman of the SME Committee.

Read the rest of this entry »

Primer on Yields of Reits & Biz Trusts

In Investments, Reits on 12/12/2011 at 5:57 am

The u/m is an extract from a BT article written by Teh Hooi Ling. Senior Correspondent and CFAer, published on 3 December 2011. It gives some very interesting insights on the yields offered by the various types of Reits, shipping trusts and other business trusts*. (Note some bad news for shipping trusts) 

Thanks BT,  Ms Teh and the unnamed fund manager, “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.

For investors who are keen on Reits and other business trusts, here is some advice from a fund manager friend on how to go about picking the right ones.

Industrial properties usually have 30-year leases, or 30+30. Assuming a 30-year lease, it means it depreciates at a rate of 3.3 per cent pa, versus one per cent pa for a 99-year lease for a retail or commercial building. So the yields for industrial Reits have to be up to 2.3 per cent pa higher than retail or commercial Reits. Usually however, it is less due to the time discount factor.

‘Ships are usually scrapped after about 25-30 years. I think typically they are depreciated over 15 years or so. Even if ships are scrapped after 30 years, shipping trusts should command a higher yield than industrial Reits because the ship lessee can ‘disappear’ with the ship, but not the industrial building tenant.

‘Hospital Reits like Parkway Reit is a rare breed as its revenue is based on a consumer price index formula. You can think of it as having zero vacancy rate (but the main issue is counterparty risk). So given the same counterparty risk, it should trade at a lower yield than retail Reits, which should trade at lower yields than commercial Reits, given the same tenure (because it’s easier to lease out retail units).

‘In turn, commercial Reits should trade at lower yields to industrial, which should trade at lower yields to hospitality (as vacancy rates of hotels/service apartments can be quite high during recessions).

‘Hospitality Reits should trade at lower yields to shipping.

‘But note that industrial can trade at higher yields to hospitality as the former has shorter tenures.

‘As for Hutchison Port Holding Trust and SP Ausnet, I would value them as companies rather than Reits, as usually the rates they charge are prone to fluctuations – unlike Reits and shipping trusts which usually lock customers up for years.

‘SP Ausnet is not structured even as a business trust and pays its dividends out of net profit rather than cash profit. I think every year, it pays out the same dividend per share even though its earnings fluctuate. I would value it the same way I value SingPost.’

Note that unlike a company, a Reit cannot maintain payouts if it hits a bad patch because, at least, 90% of net income has to be paid out. While this is not true of biz trusts, their attraction is that they promise to pay out most of their free cashflow. Companies usually pay out only a portion of their net income, hence there is something in reserve, if they hit a bad patch, and dividends can be maintained for a while more. Hence the importance to investors of what analysts call “dividend cover” which shows how many times over the net income could have paid the dividend. For example, if the dividend cover was 2, this means that the firm’s profit attributable to shareholders was two times the amount of dividend paid out. Not true of Reits, and biz trusts. Got problems, payouts get cut.

*Related post: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/reits-and-business-trusts-similarities-differences/

Reits and Business Trusts: Similarities & Differences

In Reits on 10/12/2011 at 5:45 am

In Reits, property assets are held in trust by a trustee and a separate manager is appointed to manage the Reit. The rental income is used to pay out dividends to unit holders.

Like a Reit, the business trust is created by a trust deed. The trustee has legal ownership of the assets, and is also the manager.  The business will be in a sector that provides stable income like utilities.

Reit or Business Trust by MoneySense looks at the two different structures in more detail and also spells out the key differences.

Reits: A blast from the past

In Property, Reits on 21/11/2011 at 7:11 am

Our constructive, nation- building media are promoting Reits as “safe” investments, so maybe it’s time to read or reread “Initially, I wanted to title this post “The Disastrous Singapore REITs Model” but decided otherwise”, written late last year?

It analyses what went wrong in the S-Reit sector in the period up to massive rights issues in 2009.

In a report issued last Thurday, CIMB identified K-Reit Asia, Frasers Commercial Trust (FCOT), Ascott Residence Trust (ART) and Suntec Reit as those likely to engage in equity fundraising in the near future. “The first signs of more cash calls to come have surface.”

The Reit industry is stronger than it was three years ago, CIMB said. Across the sector, the proportion of short-term debt to total debt stood at 8%  in September, much lower than the 38% in June 2008. With reduced pressure from short term liabilities, Reits are less likely to make cash calls, even if the industry’s average gearing did climb to 36%  (from 34% in 2008). But some Reits -(especially those in the office sector) could be vulnerable to asset devaluation as a downturn looms. Lower property values push up gearing ratios.

According to CIMB K-Reit, ART and Suntec Reit had gearings of 42%, 41% and% respectively at end-Sept, higher than the average of 36%.

The risk of a cash call is greatest for K-Reit. Its aggregate leverage remains high despite a massive rights issue (17 for 20) now underway to fund the purchase of Ocean Financial Centre from parent Keppel Land, and 20% of its debt is due for refinancing next year.

 ART not only has high leverage but its European assets could see a devaluation, raising its leverage- a vicious cycle. But if it divests Somerset Grand Cairnhill, which has provisional approval for redevelopment into a residential and hotel project, a near-term cash call could be avoided.

Suntec Reit  may not need a cash call until it is ready to acquire Phase 2 of Marina Bay Financial Centre and its capital expenditure needs could be partly met by proceeds from selling Chijmes.

FCOT is  a potential candidate for a rights issue because of  its relatively high leverage of 37%  and low interest coverage ratio. Also, all of its debt is maturing next year. But it could divest KeyPoint. Given F&N as its “big brother”, it could refinance its debt at lower interest rates.

But CIMB believes that Reits are still safe, maintaining its ‘overweight’ call on the sector.

Industrial Reits: not that defensive says Credit Suisse

In Logistics, Property, Reits on 18/10/2011 at 7:30 am

Last week, Credit Suisse issued a report on industrial Reits. Excerpts from report’s Executive Summary.

Not as defensive as perceived: We assume coverage of the Singapore industrial Reits sector with a slightly negative stance as we believe that the perception of its defensiveness (due to longer lease tenures) is misplaced.

… we have done thorough analyses on the factory, business parks and warehouses sub-segments, and conclude that we are most positive on the warehouse sector fundamentals.

… flat to low single-digit growth for factory rents driven by high occupancy, and business park rents to moderate due to the oncoming supply pressure (including new supply of decentralised office space).

Potential weak demand may slow rental growth: Singapore industrial rents have surpassed pre-sub-prime crisis peaks and are at 10-year highs.

… upside is limited from here on, given the moderating economic growth outlook, Singapore’s high exposure to the US and European economies and the appreciating currency which will reduce Singapore’s competitiveness as an industrial location of choice.

However … the few less labour-intensive, higher value-add fields, and sectors/ players with better pricing power, like biotechnology, water technology, environmental/energy sciences will likely be less impacted by cost inflation.

This should underpin rental growth for the class of industrial assets exposed to these sectors.

… expect rents in (logistics) warehouse – our preferred industrial sub-segment – to continue to remain strong on the back of fairly strong 90-91 per cent occupancies based on limited supply completion over the next three years. While supply for all factories over the next five years looks manageable, at 9-10 per cent of existing supply of 332 million sq ft NLA for factories and business parks … rents for older-specs factories could come under pressure especially given current economic uncertainties, which will likely impact SMEs and less cost-efficient companies (those at the lower end of the value chain).

… hi-tech and business park rents to moderate, due to the oncoming supply of business parks over the next four years amounting to 29 per cent of existing supply, coupled with existing high vacancies.

M&A increasingly challenging: Despite the supportive capital-raising environment, in our view, with cap rates continuing to compress on the back of rising competition for land (as industrial assets have the highest yields), … becoming increasingly challenging for a Reit to make an accretive acquisition, particularly in Singapore, where capital values today are at 10-year highs.

Based on our analyses of Ascendas Reit (A-Reit), Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT) and Mapletree Industrial Trust (MINT), we conclude that (1) A-Reit has the most debt headroom with $1 billion available for future acquisitions; (2) A-Reit and MLT both have the strongest acquisition pipeline, with $1 billion each of injection pipeline from their sponsors; and (3) MINT and MLT have the highest risk of placement, depending on the size of transaction given their gearing levels of 39.3 per cent and 40.6 per cent, respectively.

Three investable names, at this stage: After screening for market cap of over $1 billion and liquidity of US$1.5 million/day, only three of the seven industrial S-Reits are deemed investable: A-Reit, MLT, MINT.

Citi continues to prefer Reits

In Property, Reits on 18/08/2011 at 9:30 am

Citi continues to prefer Singapore Reits over developers, because of the current uncertain economic environment. “Despite attractive valuations, continued policy risk implies that it remains difficult to suggest picks within the real estate developer space”.

Citi prefers Reits that are operationally more defensive, including retail Reits such as Mapletree Commercial Trust and Fraser Centrepoint Trust, where passing rental rates are below market ones.

When buying distressed reits or shipping trusts

In Property, Reits, Shipping on 03/03/2011 at 7:03 am

Don’t focus on rising NAVs.

Focus on their ability to service their debts and the options they have to refinance. The improvement in NAVs is a subset of these issues.

Investing in Reits

In Investments, Property on 02/01/2011 at 5:29 pm

BT published a long piece that could serve as a primer on how to invest in Reits. Reit Primer.

Two complaints abt piece.

One is that it doesn’t talk abt buying Reits that trade at big discounts to latest reported RNAV. True there may be gd reasons why some Reits trade way below RNAV. But savvy investors can make $ buying Reits that they think shld not trade way below RNAV and holding them until they trade above or juz below RNAV, while getting good payouts while waiting. Useful Reit table for yields and RNAVs.

Those who bot Ascendas India Trust (trumpets pls) when it was trading way below its RNAV have made gd capital gains. I should have sold  out but the yield is pretty decent.  And India is now hot and RNAV could rise.

The other complaint abt the piece is that Reits can use the low interest environment to refinance their debts at lower rates and for longer tenures. Analysts from DBS and OCBC are saying this is happening.

BTW, high-yielding Reits  courtesy of ST scan0004. Declaration of interest: I own units in three of them. (Update on ^ January 2010: Now own four of them.)

Update on 4 January 2010

Must read — a summary of Soro’s piece (many yrs ago) on the danger of buying a Reit trading above RNAV (and attraction).

Another gd Reit table.

Judging SPH’s mall bid — CEO gives a hostage to Fortune

In Investments, Property on 23/11/2009 at 5:00 am

Last Wednesday, BT carried an article in which the CEO of SPH (its parent) explained the thinking behind an SPH-led consortium winning bid to build a mall in Clementi. Its partners with 20% each were NTUC Fair Price and NTUC Income.

BT giving the background said, “Its winning bid of $541.898 million was the highest of six offers that HDB received for the mall. The winning bid is nearly 42 per cent more than the next highest offer of $382 million.” Analysts were amazed at the price paid.

“Winning bidders looking ahead at rentals upon lease renewal” was the screaming headline. BT went on quoting SPH’s CEO, “‘[W]hen we do our calculations, we are not using the rentals when we start operations. We are actually using after rental renewal cycle, whether it is after three years or six years,’ said SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan.”

“Had SPH used the typical strategy of real estate investment trusts (Reits), which assume say a 5-6 per cent return based on rents when the mall starts operating, it would have led to bids in the $300 million range – where four of the six bids came in for the mall at the close of HDB’s tender last Tuesday,” BT continued.

What I liked about the CEO’s comments is that he gave analysts a time frame on which he can be judged. I’m surprised that the PR/ IR spin doctors allowed him to make these hostage to fortune statements. I hope he will continue making such statements, that help anlaysts.

The usual practice when the winning bid is way above the next bid (known as “winner’s curse”)  is for mangement to mumble something about corporate long term values without going into details.

Long-termism is often used as an excuse for avoiding tough but necessary short-term decisions, or for covering up mistakes.  Remember Temasek’s Merrill Lynch investment was “long term”

So it is refreshing to see a CEO give a time frame of 3-6 years on which analysts like me can judge the bid.

If you are wondering why this piece took so long to appear — I wanted to ensure that the article reflected correctly the CEO’s views: there would be no retraction, correction or clarification.

Remember the AWARE bun fight (where “Anal sex is normal” feminists fought “Crucify the weirdos” X’ians. OK I exaggerate wildly the positions)? There were a lot of ponticating nabobs in the MSM and online who rushed into “print” talking of the implications on civil society of the government’s non-intervention, allowing the analists to retake control of  AWARE  from the “family values” X’ians.

Well a few days later, the government stepped in and said that AWARE’s sex manual did not conform to society’s standards on anal sex and homosexualism, giving the X’ians a famous victory and making the pontificating nabobs who rushed to judgement looking decidely stupid.

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