Mapletree Industrial Trust, which joined the STI on 22 June, has announced a private placement to fund increasing its portfolio exposure to data centre’s from 31.6% to 39.0%, bringing its broader exposure to hi-tech buildings (incl. data centres) from 55.0% to 59.9%.
Keppel DC REIT, which was the strongest performer of the S-REIT Sector in 2019 and the 2020 year to date, joined the STI Reserve List in March, and with its 22% YTD total return, is currently the largest capitalised stock of the five-constituent STI Reserve List.
In 2019, Ascendas REIT acquired 28 business park properties in three growing US tech-cities. High-specs industrial and data centres make up 17% of its portfolio; with ICT customers contributing 9%, and data centres contributing 5%, to its monthly gross revenue.
Amongst the World’s 160 REITs with a market value above S$3 billion, these 3 S-REITs have been amongst the 20 strongest performers in the 2020 YTD, averaging a 14% total return, adding to their average 45% total return in 2019.
Stocks with a data centre focus have been amongst the most defensive segments of the global stock market in the 2020 year to 23 June. Data centres and dedicated properties that facilitate data storage, cloud resources and connectivity have gradually emerged as a mainstream asset class since Equity Data Centres were included as a REIT sub-sector in the FTSE NAREIT US Real Estate Index Series in December 2015.
As illustrated above, Singapore’s data centre pure-play – Keppel DC REIT – has performed in-line with the FTSE NAREIT Sub-Sector Data Centres Index in the 2020 year to 23 June.
Global lockdowns have seen businesses either accelerate their digital transformation or expand their online presence and virtualisation. During the pandemic, data centres have been deemed essential infrastructure across the globe, and REIT managers have reported that cloud providers have reported strong demand for data centre space.
With a market capitalisation of S$4.11 billion, Keppel DC REIT maintains a marginally higher market capitalisation than Suntec REIT (at S$4.08 billion), which currently poises Keppel DC REIT at the top of the STI Reserve List. The previous stock to top the STI Reserve List was Mapletree Industrial Trust which joined the STI earlier this week, effective 22 June.
Trio of S-REITs amongst World’s Most Defensive REITs in 2020 YTD
Amongst the more than 150 global REITs with a market capitalisation above S$3 billion, three S-REITs with varied exposures to data centres have been amongst the 20 strongest performers in the 2020 year to 23 June.
Together Keppel DC REIT, Mapletree Industrial Trust and Ascendas REIT have averaged 14% total returns, adding to their average 45% total return in 2019.
In its FY19 Annual Report, Keppel DC REIT highlighted that Internet Enterprise under “Trade Sector” made up 48.5% of the portfolio’s rental income. In the FY18 AGM, Keppel DC REIT Management Limited CEO Chua Hsien Yang, reiterated policy was to not share tenant names, rather share “Trade Sector” of the REIT clients. This was due to confidentiality to the location of the data centres which is very important to clients. Furthermore at the FY18 AGM, the CEO stated that its clients included “hyperscale cloud providers that are now amongst the largest companies in the world and the risk of default are very low”.
Mapletree Industrial Trust Increases Exposure to Resilient Data Centres
Mapletree Industrial Trust is not a data centre pure-play, rather data centres currently make up 31.6% of its property portfolio based on book value of investments and interests, with its broader exposure to hi-tech buildings (including data centres) at 55.0%.
On 23 June, Mapletree Industrial Trust announced it had entered into agreements for the proposed acquisition of the remaining 60.0% interest in the 14 data centres located in the US, which are currently held by Mapletree Redwood Data Centre Trust (“MRDCT”). Mapletree Industrial Trust already holds a 40.0% interest in MRDCT, with Mapletree DC Ventures Pte Ltd holding the remaining 60.0% interest.
Based on Mapletree Industrial Trust’s portfolio as at 31 March 2020 and the total acquisition outlay, this will increase Mapletree Industrial Trust’s exposure to data centre’s from 31.6% to 39.0%, bringing its broader exposure to hi-tech buildings (including data centres) from 55.0% to 59.9%. For more details on the agreement click here, and for more details on the private placement to raise gross proceeds of no less than approximately S$350 million, click here.
Hi-spec & Data Centres Part of Ascendas REIT’s Approach to its Diversified Portfolio
Ascendas REIT notes that high-specifications industrial and data centres make up 17% of its portfolio by value of the investment properties, which was at 20% in FY19 and 21% in FY18. Within the category, there are currently three data centres (4.3% portfolio) of which two are single-tenant buildings. As highlighted here, information and communications technology customers also make up 9.4% of Ascendas REIT’s monthly gross revenue, while data centres contribute 5.2%, with biomedical sciences making up 11.0%.
As part of its objective to build a resilient and diversified portfolio of properties, in 2019 Ascendas REIT acquired 28 business park properties (worth approximately S$1.3 billion) in the growing tech-cities of San Diego, Raleigh and Portland, noting that it was tapping on the increasing demand from companies in the technology and healthcare sectors.
Multiple Trusts/Property Plays with Exposure to the New Economy
The three S-REITs discussed above are not the only stocks in Singapore providing a service or exposure to hi-specs property, data centres and internet enterprises. For instance:
Business Trust NetLink NBN Trust provides a nationwide network that is the foundation of Singapore’s next generation nationwide broadband network.
EC World REIT is a specialised and e-commerce logistics REIT with its portfolio of eight quality properties located in the People’s Republic of China within the largest e-commerce clusters of Hangzhou in the Yangtze River Delta and Wuhan.
In FY19 (ending 31 Dec), one data centre operator was ESR-REIT’s eighth largest tenant in terms of rental income, contributing 2.2% in rental income.
Frasers Property holds an 80.8% deemed stake in Frasers Property (Thailand) which commenced the first phase of constructing a hyperscale data centre of approximately 60,000 square metres in Bangkok in May 2019.
Wing Tai Holding’s property business activities in Australia are conducted through its investment arm, with the group’s portfolio of properties in Australia including data centres in Sydney and Melbourne.
The world’s largest data centre REIT, Equinix, accounted for 3.9% of Mapletree Logistics Trust’s total gross revenue in FY19/20 (ending 31 Mar), maintaining its top three tenant ranking. During FY19/20, Mapletree Logisitics Trust also added Lazada and Shopee as tenants, and Amazon Singapore maintains its Prime Now facility at Mapletree Logistics Hub in Toh Guan.
FAANGS Not the Only Stocks at/near All-time Highs
Facebook and Amazon shares are at all-time highs, Apple has reached US$1.5 trillion in market capitalisation, and Alphabet is within 5% of its all-time high. Meanwhile, the FTSE NAREIT Sub-Sector Data Centres Index is also within 5% of its all-time high. Keppel DC REIT traded at an all-time high of S$2.59 in early June, while Mapletree Industrial Trust is within 5% of its all-time high reached on 6 March, and Ascendas REIT is within 8% of its all-time high of S$3.48 on 5 March.
Trio of S-REITs amongst 5 Trusts of the Sector with Most Net Institutional Buying in 2020 YTD
As detailed in the table below Keppel DC REIT, Mapletree Industrial Trust and Ascendas REIT have also been amongst the five trusts of the S-REIT Sector to see the highest amount of net buying by institutional investors in the 2020 year to June 23.
|REITs, Stapled & Property Trusts||SGX
|Mapletree Logistics Trust||M44U||7,570.90||42.9||85.8||16.5|
|Keppel DC REIT||AJBU||4,115.00||19.2||51.9||22.2|
|CapitaLand Commercial Trust||C61U||6,835.50||31||42.8||-9.4|
|Mapletree Industrial Trust||ME8U||6,252.30||24.5||40.6||11.8|
|Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust||BUOU||3,919.60||13.3||32||-3.6|
|Elite Commercial REIT||MXNU||395.5||0.9||3.6||N/A|
|Soilbuild Business Space REIT||SV3U||511.9||0.9||2.5||-18.8|
|Ascendas India Trust||CY6U||1,536.40||3.4||2.3||-13.2|
|Dasin Retail Trust||CEDU||538.4||0.3||1||1.9|
|ARA US Hospitality Trust||XZL||326.8||0.4||0.6||-48.2|
|BHG Retail REIT||BMGU||326.1||0||-0.1||-3.7|
|Frasers Centrepoint Trust||J69U||2,687.40||9.5||-0.8||-13|
|AIMS APAC REIT||O5RU||883.3||2.4||-1.2||-9.6|
|United Hampshire US REIT||ODBU||410.9||0.4||-2.7||N/A|
|Keppel Pacific Oak US REIT||CMOU||938.5||2.7||-7.3||-3.4|
|Cromwell European REIT||CNNU||1,706.70||4||-7.7||-15|
|Lippo Malls Trust||D5IU||421.5||1.4||-7.7||-33.9|
|ARA LOGOS Logistics Trust||K2LU||614.1||1.4||-7.9||-17.9|
|Prime US REIT||OXMU||1,178.00||1.9||-9.2||-10.5|
|Frasers Hospitality Trust||ACV||931.8||0.9||-9.3||-31.2|
|EC World REIT||BWCU||558||1.1||-11||-2.8|
|Manulife US REIT||BTOU||1,660.00||6.7||-13||-20.4|
|OUE Commercial REIT||TS0U||2,189.00||1.5||-18.6||-26.8|
|Far East Hospitality Trust||Q5T||1,016.70||1.9||-19.3||-28.7|
|Starhill Global REIT||P40U||1,172.30||2||-24.6||-25|
|Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust||RW0U||3,028.40||12.3||-47.9||-17.1|
|CapitaLand Retail China Trust||AU8U||1,565.30||6.2||-54.8||-18.6|
|Mapletree Commercial Trust||N2IU||6,625.50||34.3||-56.4||-15.2|
|CDL Hospitality Trusts||J85||1,314.00||6.5||-77.6||-31.2|
|CapitaLand Mall Trust||C38U||7,491.00||48.9||-104.6||-16.1|