Commercial property investors have experienced a wildly volatile few months and the outlook is still extremely uncertain too, thanks to the government response to the coronavirus outbreak. Many investment companies have cut or cancelled their dividends; and the pace and scope of the lockdown lifting will affect how quickly and to what extent their rental income recovers. As a result, they sit on wide discounts to NAV. On the other hand, other areas of the property market have seen limited or no effect. Some of these alternative sectors have seen their share prices fall and rise dramatically, close to their pre-crisis valuations.
Companies: BREI RESI THRL BBOX SHED
Commercial property investors have experienced a wildly volatile few months and the outlook is still extremely uncertain too, thanks to the government response to the coronavirus outbreak. Many investment companies have cut or cancelled their dividends; and the pace and scope of the lockdown lifting will affect how quickly and to what extent their rental income recovers. As a result, they sit on wide discounts to NAV. On the other hand, other areas of the property market have seen limited or no effect. Some of these alternative sectors have seen their share prices fall and rise dramatically, close to their pre-crisis valuations. To us it seems that investors have a tough balancing act to perform. In the generalist REITs, we think the steady subsiding of the epidemic and loosening of economic restrictions mean potential opportunities in the discounts. However taking advantage of these opportunities means accepting the risk of short-term dividend cuts and plenty of uncertainty around government policy. On the other hand, some of the alternative areas offer much more secure dividends, but on a portfolio level and based on share prices they offer very little valuation cushion.
Companies: BREI BBOX SHED
A number of REITs have the ability to thrive in current market conditions and thereafter. Not only do they hold assets that will remain in strong demand, but they have focus and transparency. The leases and underlying rents are structured in a manner to provide long visibility, growth and security. Hardman & Co defined an investment universe of REITs that we considered provided security and “safer harbours”. We introduced this universe with our report published in March 2019: “Secure income” REITs – Safe Harbour Available. Here, we take forward the investment case and story. We point to six REITs, in particular, where we believe the risk/reward is the most attractive.
Companies: AGR CSH ESP DIGS IHR LXI PHP RESI SIR SUPR THRL SOHO BBOX SHED WHR
In the financial markets, the biggest winners from the crisis so far have – without a doubt – been the technology sectors. Software, hardware, ecommerce and related sectors have outperformed in the immediate aftermath (as we discussed in a recent strategy note). They also seem likely to benefit from some of the likely long-lasting changes to society that the crisis will forge. This is the latest episode in a long period of outperformance. Looking back over the past decade, technology-related companies have tended to perform like consumer staples or defensives on the downside, and like high growth discretionary stocks on the upside: an ideal combination from the investor’s point of view. But will this continue, and can it? In this piece we consider why technology-related stocks and sectors have been so successful and the dangers which could bring their run to an end.
Companies: PCT ATT JFJ MWY SMT MNL BBOX
Tritax Big Box REIT (BBOX) invests primarily in the large-scale sites at the centre of modern distribution and logistics networks – so-called ‘big boxes’ or ‘mega boxes’. These are crucial to online-only retailers and to the distribution networks of those multichannel retailers operating nationally or internationally. The largest single tenant is Amazon, responsible for 13% of the company’s rental income, and the second largest is Ocado. Manufacturers, wholesalers and courier services are major tenants. ‘Big boxes’ serve as centralised hubs for more complicated networks, offering efficiencies of scale and location, and frequently being newer, more automated and energy-efficient structures. The sector has performed strongly in recent years as online sales and click-and-collect services have stolen market share from bricks-and-mortar sales. As we discuss in the Portfolio section, the yield compression that has resulted means BBOX is now focussing on augmenting its core portfolio with land and early-stage developments, largely pre-let, which offer the prospect of greater returns and are smaller nodes in the same distribution networks. BBOX has fallen onto a 20% discount following the emergence of the pandemic, close to the average of the generalist-dominated AIC Property – UK Commercial sector. The 7p dividend guidance for 2020 has been withdrawn, and the first quarterly payment was reduced slightly from what had been expected (to 1.5625p). This would amount to a yield of 5.2% annualized, although given the ongoing situation no commitment regarding the dividend has been made. However, the manager Tritax Group notes that around 50% of the portfolio is let to tenants with defensive characteristics in the current environment, such as online retailers, supermarkets and delivery services.
Companies: Tritax Big Box REIT Plc
The industrial and logistics sector has been on a tremendous run over the past five years or so. It is hard to think now, given the current dynamics in the property industry, that retail and offices were the sectors of choice for investors for many years with industrial cast aside by most.
Companies: ASLI LMP SGRO SMP BBOX EBOX SHED WHR
Companies: ASLI LMP SGRO SMP SMP BBOX EBOX SHED WHR
Fundraising showed signs of picking up this month, and the focus was very much on the renewables sector. First of all there was Renewables Infrastructure Group, which launched a placing programme and an initial fundraising early in the month, targeting up to £170m. It ended up raising just over £300m, having received applications for nearly three times as many shares as were originally available, in an upsized and scaled back issuance. Greencoat Renewables also announced and completed a placing which raised EUR 148m, around 40% more than the target. Another indication of interest in this sector was John Laing Environmental Assets successfully placing around 22m of its shares that were being sold by The John Laing Pension Trust. Finally, with regard to news in this sector, the close of the US Solar Fund* IPO had to be put back after just falling short of its target by the original closing date – closing is now expected to take place on 10 April.
Companies: TRIG BBOX UKW GRP ALF ELTA ESP FAIR BCPT BREI HTCF MERI UKCM
TRIG – Renewables Infrastructure Group – February 2019 NAV and asset | BBOX – Tritax Big Box – Finals to 31 December 2018 | SIR – Secure Income REIT – Finals to 31 December 2018 | FSFL – Foresight Solar – Finals to 31 December 2018
Companies: TRIG BBOX SIR FSFL
CAT – CATCo Reinsurance Opportunities – Portfolio update | BBOX – Tritax Big Box – Completion of acquisition
BBOX – Tritax Big Box – Results of fundraising | NESF* – NextEnergy Solar – Partnership with Zestec | MXF – Medicx – Q4 2018 NAV, trading update and dividend
Companies: BBOX NESF MXF
Tritax Big Box – Acquisition and fundraising | AEW UK - Q4 2018 NAV and dividend
Companies: Tritax Big Box REIT Plc (BBOX:LON)AEW UK Reit (AEWU:LON)
BBOX - Tritax Big Box - Trading update to 31 December 2018 | AEWL - AEW UK Long Lease - Acquisition and debt facility
Companies: Tritax Big Box REIT Plc (BBOX:LON)Alternative Income REIT Plc (AIRE:LON)
BBOX - Tritax Big Box – Proposed changes to investment policy | THRL - Target Healthcare – Acquisitions | APAX - Apax Global Alpha – Q3 2018 NAV and revolving credit facility
Companies: BBOX APAX THRL
Synccona - Q2 2018 update | Tritax Big Box – Interims to 30 June 2018 | Impact Healthcare REIT – Interims to 30 June 2018
Companies: SYNC BBOX IHR
Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on Tritax Big Box REIT Plc.
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What’s new: Interim results confirm the growth set out in the recent trading update:
12.6% rise in Group Revenues to £11.0m (1H last year: £9.7m);
21.9% rise in adj operating profit to £5.03m (1H last year: £4.13m);
17.4% rise over 6 months in AUM to £7.8bn on 30 September 2020,
n.b. From 31 March 2020 the WMA balanced index rose 11.6% to 4510;
Market movements added 12.5% to AUM (i.e. Tatton outperformed WMA);
1H net inflows of £328.1bn were 4.9% of opening AUM (i.e. c 10% annualised net inflows);
Companies: Tatton Asset Management Plc
Mondelez International has announced that it has appointed MediaMonks to manage global technology infrastructure, global websites and content production for North America, Latin America and AMEA. We believe this account win by S4 Capital further vindicates the unitary structure and integrated offer of the group as Mondelez initially worked with MightyHive before broadening the scope of this relationship to encompass MediaMonks. S4 Capital describes the account as a Whopper, indicating that it will generate revenues of over $20m when the account is fully transitioned. We will update our forecasts for the account win at the next financial newsflow from the group. We currently forecast LFL Gross Profit growth of +26% for FY21 and believe the Mondelez win will further accelerate this. We raise our target price to 500p (was 475p) and retain our Buy recommendation.
Companies: S4 Capital plc
Regional REIT (RGL) has published an encouraging trading update and, with continuing strong rent collection, has confirmed a Q320 DPS of 1.5p, in line with target. RGL remains very positive about prospects for the regional office markets beyond the current period of uncertainty and future investment will focus solely on this sector. The remaining industrial and other assets will be sold and in addition to reinvestment of the proceeds RGL will consider a share buy-back where this is accretive.
Companies: Regional REIT Ltd.
Tatton has demonstrated resilience to deliver a strong outturn. H1 performance was in line – delivering half our FY21 estimates – on sustained net inflows (£55m pcm) as performance benefited from market recovery and Paradigm addressed lower mortgage volumes by refocusing on refi/product switching. AuM has recently hit the £8bn milestone. The balance sheet is well capitalised (£13m cash) and pursuit of compelling organic (and acquisitive) opportunity continues. The 18x fwd PER reflects this, alongside 20% forecast EPS growth.
Today’s $2.3m framework agreement with an existing Tier 1 global customer is further validation of Clareti’s competitive advantage, of its ability to land and expand and, logically, is the augury of incremental revenues ahead. Gresham continues to gain market share in the critical Tier 1 space and we expect this to show in a resumption of revenue growth next year. Trading on forward Clareti recurring revenues of c. 4.1x, we see significant upside.
Companies: Gresham House
H1 Results: resilient performance
Companies: Palace Capital plc
President Trump likes to project himself as a highly successful businessman, but surprisingly little is known about his true financial position. Various articles, including a 2016 in-depth analysis by The Wall Street Journal, have speculated about his income and asset base. All sorts of claims and counter-claims have been made about his wealth – by Trump himself, pitching his fortune at some $9bn, and by journalist Timothy O'Brien, suggesting that it is as “low” as $150m-$250m. It is doubtful whether we shall ever know the truth, but we can use Trump’s UK corporate filings to gain an insight into his businesses in Scotland.
Companies: AVO ARBB ARIX CLIG DNL FLTA ICGT PCA PIN PHP RECI STX SCE TRX SHED VTA YEW
Today's trading update reads positively, evidencing a further rise in cash receipts towards pre-Covid levels, as three royalty partners exit forbearance measures. As a result, Duke will return to cash paid dividends from Q3/21E at attractive yields currently. Our newly released forecasts see YoY recovery in performance to FY23E, while significant upside exists from sizeable equity stakes arising from forbearance. Trading at a 16% discount to forecast FY22E NAV, we see Duke as overly discounted given the continued improving outlook, thus move to a Buy recommendation.
Companies: Duke Royalty
Tatton delivered solid interim results for the 6 months period ending 30 September 2020, showing double-digit growth on most key metrics, despite very challenging market conditions. It also announced that it has secured a £30m credit facility to pursue organic and acquisitive growth. That, in addition to its accumulated net cash pile of £13.3m, is a significant ‘war chest’. In today’s uncertain and volatile economic environment, finding reasonably valued or even under-priced opportunities to deploy some of this capital is a realistic expectation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated trends in online retailing, to the benefit of the European logistics market, in which Tritax EuroBox (EBOX) is a leading player. Demand for logistics space is growing exponentially, while supply of existing and new stock is depleted. This dynamic is even more acute in prime locations close to heavily populated conurbations and prolonged rental growth is forecast. EBOX has amassed a portfolio of big box facilities located in major logistics hotspots across Europe. Numerous value-add opportunities also exist within the portfolio, including development and asset management projects. One of the key differentiators of EBOX to its peers is its exclusive ties with established logistics developers. Through the relationships, EBOX has access to and first right of refusal over a pipeline of development assets worth €2bn.
Companies: Tritax EuroBox Plc
Avation is a lessor of 46 commercial aircraft to a diversified airline client base. This morning, the group has released results for the 12-months to 30 June 2020, which illustrate the challenges faced by its customer base as a result of Covid-19, as well as the corrective actions taken by the Board that have resulted in profitability being maintained in the year as a whole. Loan repayment deferrals of c.$24.4m were obtained in the period, in comparison to $13.1m short-term rent deferrals being granted to airline customers and thus emphasising management's focus on liquidity during an unprecedented period for global airlines. Avation again reports that it is currently reviewing alternatives in relation to the 6.5% senior notes due in May 2021. Whilst at this point our forecasts remain under review, and near term challenges remain across the industry, we believe that demand for aircraft from lessors such as Avation will increase in time as a result of airlines being even more reliant upon aircraft leasing firms due to the retirement of older aircraft during 2020 in combination with much weaker balance sheets that are unable to support direct aircraft purchases.
Companies: Avation PLC
Litigation Capital Management has announced FY20 results with gross profit up 7% to A$21.7m and PBT of A$9.2m, slightly behind expectations albeit the Group had already flagged that delays to 3 cases during the year would result in resolutions in FY21, thereby impacting FY20 results. That said, excellent strategic progress through the year and good news flow as well as increasing scale suggests more value to come. Reiterate buy
Companies: Litigation Capital Management Ltd
Secular stagnation refers to the economic theory that growth will be persistently low for some time to come, due to an imbalance between savings and investment. If capital is saved rather than invested productive capacity lies idle, while the drag on consumption reduces demand in the economy. As a result GDP growth is reduced. As we have previously discussed, there is no historical evidence that GDP growth has a direct impact on stock market growth – in contradiction of the theorised linkage via earnings. However, in a world of secular stagnation in which there is a glut of savings, corporate earnings will be muted as demand for companies’ wares remains sluggish, which should negatively impact stock market growth. High rates of savings would also push equity valuations higher than they would otherwise be and thereby reduce future returns. Investors can respond to this situation in a number of ways. One is to try to find active strategies, which either seek to harness certain factors likely to boost returns or to generate high stockspecific alpha. In the first case this could mean looking to harness the small cap premium or to the emerging markets which should see greater earnings growth over the long run. It could also mean looking to the tech sector, where earnings are dependent more on secular changes within the economy than the growth rate of the economy. In the second case this would mean looking for highly active stock pickers who run concentrated portfolios and aim to pick the winning companies which can steal market share from competitors. We believe the investment trust universe is the perfect place to find such strategies, as the structure allows managers to focus on managing their strategy and not inflows and outflows, while being able to take exposure to relatively illiquid assets and harvest the premium for doing so. Another way of responding is to look for alternative assets which offer comparable or superior returns to the equity market as a whole. In our view, when we look at likely equity returns over the next ten years, some alternatives look compelling. In the below we sketch a rough idea of likely equity returns over the next decade and then introduce some trusts we think have the potential to generate similar returns from more predictable cash flows and potentially less volatile NAVs.
Companies: USF HICL NESF TRIG UKW NBLS
Following on quickly from its impressive full year results, these interim results confirm that our confidence for growth in the Program Management business was not misplaced.Contracted Premium increased 95% YoY (and 12% ahead of December 2019) to $925m –a stone's throw away from the $1bn 2020 guidance set in 2018. At the same time, Gross Written Premium (GWP) grew 42.6% to £247.2m, resulting in Economic EBITDA turning positive, at £0.8m compared to a loss of £0.3m in 1H19
Companies: Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd.
These results – and the resilient performance contained within – suggest to us that the strategy of developing a full suite of products for growth companies has stood finnCap in good stead so far during this changed operating environment. In particular, developing strong sector teams (where it will continue to invest) has been beneficial in driving new business. CEO Sam Smith notes that the Group is moving into the next phase of its strategy which is to seek complementary bolt on acquisitions in adjacent sectors to further broaden its offering to growth companies. We introduce estimates for FY 2021E which reflect the strong first half performance and our conservative view on H2 – although we note that the latter period has started well.
Companies: finnCap Group plc