SGX Market Updates

5 Property Acquisitions Expected to Boost S-REIT Yields


PUBLISHED ON |

23 May 2019

  • Singapore’s REITs are characterised by comparatively high and stable distribution yields, in addition to potential for portfolio growth. While REIT managers are known to be cautious with balance sheets, acquisitions and secondary fund raisings continue to advance in 2019.

  • In the month of May, 5 REITs have either announced or completed property acquisitions for their portfolios & include Frasers Centrepoint Trust, AIMS APAC REIT, Sasseur REIT, Manulife US REIT and EC World REIT. The acquisitions span Singapore, Australia, China and the US.

  • In all 5 acquisitions, Managers have highlighted that the acquisitions would be yield accretive, i.e. boost the overall distribution yield of their respective portfolios. Currently the 34 REITs and six stapled trusts average a 6.5% distribution yield.




The combined Net Asset Value of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”) listed on Singapore Exchange has continued to expand in 2019. Singapore began 2019 with 34 REITs and 5 stapled trusts, which have all gained and averaged 13.6% total returns through to 22 May and currently average a 6.5% dividend yield.  On 9 May, a sixth Hospitality Trust, ARA US Hospitality Trust was listed, and tomorrow (24 May) a seventh Hospitality Trust, Eagle Hospitality Trust, is scheduled to list on Singapore Exchange.

REIT popularity in Singapore is exemplified in multiple ways - they make up one-tenth of the STI stocks, all of the STI Reserve List stocks, approximately one-tenth of the total market capitalisation of stocks listed on Singapore Exchange and a quarter of the top 20 stocks by turnover on a day-to-day basis.  



Listed Real Estate Assets Attracting Private Equity Flows

Importantly, Singapore REITs are also attracting investment flows from global funds which can include private equity funds. Cohen & Steers Inc. oversees US$62.6 billion in mutual funds and other liquid vehicles (as of 31 March). Their focus is on real estate, infrastructure and commodities, with its shares amongst the biggest gainers over the past 12 months when compared to a peer group of US asset managers.

Co-founder Robert Steers recently stated in this Bloomberg article that institutional investors were starting to turn away from private equity real estate and infrastructure investments in favour of liquid funds that put their money to work faster. That same week Cohen & Steers also took its stake in Parkway Life REIT above the 7.0% threshold. The aforementioned article also added that Middle Eastern institutional investors are also allocating more to public funds because private equity returns are narrowing.



Yield Accretive Acquisitions

Singapore’s REITs are characterised by comparatively high and stable distribution yields, in addition to potential for portfolio growth. While REIT managers are known to be cautious with balance sheets, acquisitions and secondary fund raisings continue to advance in 2019.

During May, 5 REITs either announced or completed property acquisitions for their portfolios. For all five acquisitions, managers highlighted that the acquisitions would be yield accretive, that is boost the overall distribution yield of their respective portfolios:

  • On 16 May, Frasers Centrepoint Trust (“FCT”) announced its intention to acquire one-third interest in Waterway Point for S$433.3 million. Further details can be read here. The Manager financed the outlay for the acquisition using part of the gross proceeds from the issuance of new equity in FCT through a private placement and non-renounceable preferential offering. The private placement was approximately 2.3 times subscribed at the top end of the private placement issue price range and drew strong demand from new and existing institutional and other accredited investors. As detailed on Slide 11 of the FCT investor presentation (click here), distributable income is expected to increase 12.0%, with a 0.29% increase in Distribution per Unit (“DPU”) expected post the acquisition. 
  • On 15 May, AIMS APAC REIT (“AA REIT”) announced it is expanding its footprint in Australia and had entered into a Sales and Purchase Contract with GSM Rocket Australia Pty Ltd to acquire Boardriders APAC HQ. The property is located in the southern Gold Coast suburb of Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia for A$38.46 million. The acquisition is expected to be predominantly funded from Australian dollar debt facilities in order to maintain a natural currency hedge on the acquisition. AA REIT’s aggregate leverage following the acquisition would increase from 33.7% as at 31 March 2019 to 35.5% on a proforma basis, assuming acquisition was fully funded by debt. The proposed acquisition will be DPU accretive and as detailed on Slide 18 of the AAREIT investor presentation (click here), the post-acquisition DPU and DPU yield is expected to increase 0.8%. 
  • On 14 May, Sasseur REIT announced the completion of its first acquisition since its March 2018 IPO. Sasseur REIT completed Sale & Purchase Agreements to acquire additional shop units with existing tenancies at the annex block of Sasseur (Hefei) Outlets from third-party vendors for a purchase consideration of RMB98.3 million, representing a discount of approximately 4.1% compared to valuation. The Manager also noted on 24 April that the acquisition will be funded fully by existing cash and is expected to increase the REIT's DPU and NAV per unit from 5.128 cents and 90.33 cents to 5.179 cents and 90.37 cents respectively, being DPU and NAV accretive on a pro forma basis. Note the 5.128 cents DPU is based on actual DPU for the financial period from 28 March 2018 (being the listing date of Sasseur REIT) to 31 December 2018, with the projected 5.179 cents a 0.99% increase in DPU. For more details click here
  • On 13 May, the Manager of Manulife US REIT (“MUST”) announced it had completed the acquisition of property in Fairfax, Virginia, Washington, D.C. A private placement raised gross proceeds of US$94.0 million with US$89.4 million used to partially fund the acquisition of the property. As detailed on page 16 of this MUST investor presentation (click here) post the accretive acquisition the distributable income is expected to rise 12.6% with DPU expected to rise 3.3% to 5.76 US cents and adjusted DPU expected to rise 2.6%. Note the adjusted DPU was calculated based on the weighted average number of units in issue. The adjusted DPU normalises the drag from the enlarged Unit base from the Preferential Offering issued to fund Penn and Phipps acquisition in 2018. 
  • On 10 May, EC World REIT announced the proposed acquisitions and master lease agreements of Fuzhou e-commerce with Land Area of 88,000 square metres. The proposed funding structure involves a combination of secured debt financing facilities from banks and/or cash. As detailed on Slide 16 of the EC World REIT investor presentation (click here), the post-acquisition Net Property Income is expected to rise 16.4% and DPU is expected to increase by 1.6% to 6.278 Singapore cents. This accretion is based on historical pro forma financial effects for FY18 assuming EC World REIT had purchased the Fuzhou E-Commerce on 1 January 2018, and held and operated the Fuzhou E-Commerce through to 31 December 2018.


REITs & Stapled Trusts Average 13.6% Total Returns in 2019 YTD

Singapore currently lists 34 REITs and 6 stapled trusts, with ARA US Hospitality Trust the most recent stapled trust to list. The 2019 year-to-date total returns of the trusts that have been listed of the duration is 13.6%. Note total returns takes into account dividend distributions which are assumed to be reinvested.  Average price return of the trusts, without taking into account the dividend distributions for the 2019 year-to-date is 10.0%. 

The table below details the returns of each of the trusts. Note in addition to ARA US Hospitality Trust, the stapled trusts are CDL Hospitality Trusts, Frasers Hospitality Trust, OUE Hospitality Trust, Far East Hospitality Trust and Ascendas Hospitality Trust.

The 5 strongest performers amongst the below tabled REITs and Stapled Trusts are Sasseur REIT, Keppel-KBS US REIT, Fortune REIT, Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust and Ascendas Hospitality Trust. The 5 trusts averaged a 25.2% total return with the five least performing trusts averaging a 4.5% total return.

Name SGX
Code
Market Cap
S$
YTD
Total Return
%
Dividend
Yield
ASCENDAS REAL ESTATE INV TRT A17U 9.15B 17.5 5.5%
CAPITALAND MALL TRUST C38U 8.82B 7.7 4.8%
CAPITALAND COMMERCIAL TRUST C61U 7.27B 13.5 4.6%
MAPLETREE COMMERCIAL TRUST N2IU 5.62B 20.6 4.7%
MAPLETREE LOGISTICS TRUST M44U 5.29B 19.2 5.4%
SUNTEC REIT T82U 5.00B 3.7 5.4%
MAPLETREE INDUSTRIAL TRUST ME8U 4.20B 12.2 5.8%
MAPLETREE NORTH ASIA COMMERCIAL RW0U 4.19B 19.3 5.9%
KEPPEL REIT K71U 4.12B 8.6 4.6%
FORTUNE REIT F25U 3.66B 25.5 4.6%
SPH REIT SK6U 2.72B 7.8 5.3%
ASCOTT RESIDENCE TRUST A68U 2.61B 14.9 6.6%
FRASERS LOGISTICS & INDUSTRIAL TRUST BUOU 2.37B 17.1 6.1%
FRASERS CENTREPOINT TRUST J69U 2.24B 14.0 5.0%
KEPPEL DC REIT AJBU 2.08B 17.0 4.7%
CDL HOSPITALITY TRUSTS* J85 1.95B 14.4 5.7%
PARKWAYLIFE REIT C2PU 1.75B 12.8 4.5%
ESR-REIT J91U 1.73B 10.7 7.5%
CROMWELL EUROPEAN REIT CNNU 1.67B 14.4 8.0%
MANULIFE US REIT BTOU 1.63B 18.5 7.1%
STARHILL GLOBAL REIT P40U 1.62B 12.9 6.1%
CAPITALAND RETAIL CHINA TRUST AU8U 1.48B 12.5 6.5%
OUE COMMERCIAL REIT TS0U 1.42B 10.4 7.0%
FRASERS HOSPITALITY TRUST* ACV 1.34B 4.6 6.3%
FRASERS COMMERCIAL TRUST ND8U 1.33B 10.9 6.6%
OUE HOSPITALITY TRUST* SK7 1.28B 7.4 7.2%
FAR EAST HOSPITALITY TRUST* Q5T 1.22B 8.9 5.7%
ASCENDAS HOSPITALITY TRUST* Q1P 1.03B 22.4 7.1%
AIMS APAC REIT O5RU 960.37M 8.5 7.4%
SASSEUR REIT CRPU 951.16M 29.0 8.6%
KEPPEL-KBS US REIT CMOU 833.48M 26.3 8.5%
CACHE LOGISTICS TRUST K2LU 786.83M 9.4 8.2%
FIRST REAL ESTATE INVT TRUST AW9U 784.85M 4.9 8.7%
ARA US HOSPITALITY TRUST* XZL 675.09M N/A 8.0%**
SOILBUILD BUSINESS SPACE REIT SV3U 637.99M 8.0 8.1%
EC WORLD REIT BWCU 635.38M 18.4 7.5%
LIPPO MALLS INDONESIA RETAIL D5IU 622.40M 22.9 10.2%
IREIT GLOBAL UD1U 471.85M 6.7 7.7%
SABANA SHARIAH COMP IND REIT M1GU 447.56M 12.8 7.1%
BHG RETAIL REIT BMGU 358.81M 2.7 6.8%
Average     13.6 6.5%

Source: SGX StockFacts, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg (Data as of 22 May 2019)
* Stapled Trust
** based on prospectus – for more information click here.







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