Following a recent blog post in which my admiration for CapitaMall Trust's (CMT) management was once again mentioned, with the REIT's unit price having retreated from a recent high of $2.09 a unit, I decided to examine whether it makes sense for me to have some exposure to the REIT soon.
Well, these concerns could be addressed effectively as long as REITs are able to increase their rental income meaningfully. It would largely be through positive rental reversions and this would hinge upon whether tenants are willing to pay higher rents. I expect that some REITs would be able to do this better than others.
However, for Retail REITs like CMT, if they are able to add value by encouraging shoppers to choose their malls over the competition's, they will create a win-win situation for themselves and their tenants. I believe that CMT is doing a good job of this and the REIT's tenants would appreciate this.
Not much of a shopper myself, it is really after becoming a CapitaStar member and getting the CapitaMalls credit card that I appreciate this as I looked at the REIT through the lens of a business development manager which is the fun part for me.
Correct as of June 2014, here are some numbers:
Also, 98.7% are fixed rate borrowings.
It is hard to imagine CMT being caught in any situation where they might have trouble refinancing their debt. Now, this is not saying that it cannot happen, of course, which is why, expecting interest rates to rise from middle of 2015, I think that having a larger exposure to companies which pay stable and meaningful dividends out of their earnings with little or no debt is safer than increasing exposure to leveraged income instruments like REITs.
Next, as REIT investors, we would be familiar with the argument why Industrial REITs must offer a higher yield because their land leases are much shorter (although some could hold some freehold properties which throws a spanner into the wheels of this train of thought). Anyway, I feel that what is more important is a REIT's ability to actually add value even if their land leases are getting shorter over time.
If we look at the AEIs that CMT did and are doing now, it is easy to see that they have added value and are going to add more value to the REIT again.
I hope to buy at a discount to NAV but with a strong track record and pedigree, under normal circumstances, it would be difficult for my wish to come true. Then, perhaps, I might be persuaded to take a nibble if I could pay only a smallish premium to NAV.
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1. SPH or SPH REIT?