Urban Logistics REIT (“REIT”) has acquired another high quality “last mile” asset in the Wirral for £16.3m (5.0% NIY). The 169k sqft site is let to a subsidiary of Culina. It is leased through to 2032 and has clear rental progression, with an uplift on commencement of a reversionary lease in 2022 and a rent review in 2027. 99% rents for the Jan-Mar quarter have already been collected – highlighting the resilience in the tenant base/income. We do not change forecasts, already assuming full deployment by year end. We estimate that c.£75m capital capacity remains. We note a 6%+ dividend yield in FY22e – a 12m period of full capital deployment – and note that the discount ignores embedded NAV growth potential.
Companies: Urban Logistics REIT plc
Although 2020 will probably go down in history as one of the most challenging years experienced during our lifetime, it will also likely be chronicled as one of the best years for the recognition and appreciation of science. As we entered 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was in its infancy. However, it rapidly evolved through the exponential rise in infections and mortality globally. Much has been achieved during the past 12 months in the fight against COVID-19, but, as we enter 2021, there are considerable concerns about the emergence of a mutant version of the virus and the second wave that we are now facing.
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Urban Logistics REIT (“ULR”) has made further acquisitions deploying £23m additional capital into high quality assets with attractive NIYs and opportunities to drive value through active management. Assets are positioned in optimal locations, with good demand-supply dynamics and strong tenant covenant. Amazon UK is added to the tenant roster via the Fareham acquisition. We already assumed full capital deployment by Mar’21 in our forecasts so these acquisitions prompt no change. In our view, the opportunity to drive rents/values makes the 6%+ forecast yield (once fully deployed) compelling.
The 12 November interims showed an impressive 16.0% annualised total asset return. The company’s “last-touch” distribution warehouse portfolio is in a strong spot. Market supply is reducing structurally, and demand is growing in the short and long term. In 2H’21, 17% of leases are being renewed into a strong market. Deployment of recent equity raises is ahead of schedule, set to complete (with gearing) by January 2021. Expertise is paying off in an actively managed portfolio, yet the shares trade barely above NAV and far below the assets’ replacement cost. With FY’22 likely to see assets fully deployed and with rents rising, the earnings growth is set fair, we believe.
Urban Logistics REIT (“ULR”) has reported in line interim results. H1’21 reflects a period of capital deployment and thus we see strong rental and profit growth. EPRA NAV is +2.7% vs FY20 to 141.6p with +5% lfl valuation growth. Further capital deployment has continued postperiod end fuelled by a further equity raise and £67m has been invested into 6 assets. There is further firepower to invest £115m in the coming months. We do not alter our recently revised forecasts, which already includes the impact of full deployment at 6% NIY. We would highlight that ULR continues to trade on a modest discount – with embedded value creation opportunity in the portfolio – and a 6%+ dividend yield in prospect.
Urban Logistics REIT (“ULR”) has acquired a five unit site in Hoddesden, Herts for £34m – a 5.4% NIY. Three units are let to Müller UK – the dairy products manufacturer – with the other two standing vacant. We recognise an attractive NIY and strong covenant of the existing tenant, but also a material value creation opportunity in the vacant units. There have been expressions of interest from prospective tenants. We do not change our forecasts, which already assume that all available capital is deployed during FY21e. We would highlight that ULR continues to trade on a forward discount and offers a 6%+ yield.
Urban Logistics REIT (“ULR”) has acquired a further 5 mid-box assets for £33m – all have attractive total return profiles (avg. 6.4% NIY). This makes progress to deploy equity and debt secured recently. The opportunity is significant: across the asset class and in the £350m+ pipeline. We update forecasts assuming all equity proceeds are deployed by end cal’20 and all debt capacity (max 30% LTV) used by end FY21e. We remain conservative as to the impact of active management and yield compression. ULR offers a 6%+ yield and trades on a 4% discount to NAV – attractive metrics in a compelling space with more to play for.
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.
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20 years ago, a young intern at a leading investment bank was asked for his views on the future of the media industry. His published thoughts included the suggestion that his generation never watched TV. This came as a complete shock to the older generation of analysts and fund managers. Could this apply to the car industry? The following article results from an interview between the Hardman & Co analyst, Derek Terrington, and his son, William (age 23). Derek is famous for his research note exposing Robert Maxwell in the 1990s, when he was the leading media analyst at UBS. The note was entitled Couldn’t recommend a purchase, the acronym of which has been quoted ever since in the City.
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Urban Logistics REIT (“ULR”) has announced that it is considering a potential equity fundraise. All £136m raised through the equity placing in March, as well as a substantial proportion of the extended debt facility, has now been deployed or committed. The manager has identified a pipeline of £389m across 33 logistics assets generating £27m annualised rental income (6.4% NIY) which meet the REIT’s investment criteria. The acquisition of these assets stands to be earnings accretive for existing shareholders and targeting further returns/growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact globally in many areas. While primarily a health issue, it has had wide-ranging implications for stock markets, which have now rallied after the plunge in share prices in mid-March when the full severity of the emerging pandemic became more widely appreciated. Nonetheless, the FTSE 100 Index remains almost 20% off its late February 2020 figure.
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Opportunities which have presented themselves in the wake of the COVID pandemic have been too good to ignore. Two assets have been acquired for £17m with 5%+ NIY; one having material reversionary potential. An attractive forward funding opportunity has been born out of COVID uncertainty with ULR stepping in to fund the £20m development of two assets pre-let to Amazon and DHL. March’s equity placing has now been fully deployed, and a new £151m loan facility provides additional £40-50m headroom. The structural trend towards e-commerce has been catalysed by COVID. ULR offers exposure to this resilient, attractive segment with a 5%+ yield and potential capital gains from rent reversion.
For this Monthly, we are delighted that Rooney Nimmo and 24Haymarket have allowed us to reproduce a recent report they jointly published, entitled An analysis of UK exits (2015-2019), which provides a granular analysis by sector of the activity in our dynamic private companies world. We hope you find the insights of interest.
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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.
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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
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What’s new: Ahead of the publication of the Group’s interims results for the six months to 31 December 2020, CLIG has released a detailed trading update which reveals:
Group consolidated FuM of US$11.0 billion (£8.0 billion), which is twice the FuM of US$5.5 billion (£4.4 billion) at the Group’s year end on 30 June 2020;
The merger with Karpus Management Inc ("KMI") added c US$3.6 billion from 1 October 2020;
Investment performance across CLIG’s investment strategies was “strong”, following “significant discount narrowing” and “good NAV performance”;
Rebalancing of client portfolios resulted in US$ 290 million of net outflows.
Companies: City of London Investment Group PLC
Finals (9mths to Sep-20) are in line with expectations. Recurring fee income from 3rd party AuM (incl. PRSR) ensured solid profitability. The balance sheet is well resourced with £26m to develop seed assets. With a positive outlook following the launch of the £1bn JV with EQT, we see accelerating returns over the medium term. PRSR is also on track to materially complete the initial 5,200 portfolio this year. Sigma trades below our 200p+/share intrinsic valuation – which attributes no value to AuM growth, which is a strategic priority.
Companies: Sigma Capital Group plc
Secure Trust Bank’s (STB) pre-close update confirms the upbeat trends evident in its Q3 update in November. The strong lending rebound continued into Q4, loan repayment holidays are at low levels, and the balance sheet has remained robust and liquid. STB reiterated that its FY20 PBT would be well ahead of £9.7m (we forecast £13.0m). However, the new COVID-19 restrictions introduced in December 2020 have affected consumer loan demand into 2021, as well as the Motor Finance business. Management expects to be better placed to disclose its outlook for FY21 when STB’s FY20 results are released on 25 March. Our forecasts (FY21 PBT £31.6m, ROE 9.1%) and fair value (1,756p per share) remain unchanged.
Companies: Secure Trust Bank Plc
Allied Minds has announced that Joe Pignato has decided to step down as CEO and from the board with immediate effect. However, he will continue to support the company as CFO for an interim period as the board continues its search for a permanent CFO. As part of a streamlining process, Allied Minds will now become a board-led company with no immediate intention to appoint a new CEO. The chairman and NEDs (experienced VCs and private company investors) will represent Allied Minds on portfolio company boards (including Federated Wireless, BridgeComm and Spin Memory) with an intention to accelerate realisations where possible.
Companies: Allied Minds PLC
Sirius Real Estate has been a stand-out performer within the UK listed commercial real estate sector over the last three years, delivering a total shareholder return of 107%. The shares also offer a valuable portfolio diversifier for investors, with a geographic focus on Germany, and a focus on pro
Companies: Sirius Real Estate Limited
Redde Northgate has come through the COVID crisis in very good shape so far. We expect minimal impact on the former Northgate business from “lockdown 2.0”, a strong recovery in profits and a re-rating as normality returns and Redde reverts to mean. We could see further useful earnings upside from acquisitions such as Nationwide and revenue synergies not yet included. The Group is transforming itself into a mobility business which is higher returning, more diversified and has sustainable compounding growth prospects.
Companies: Redde Northgate PLC
Pacific Horizon (PHI) generated a very impressive uplift in its NAV over the course of 2020. This reflects its focus on growth, and technology and biotech stocks in particular. These performed well as we attempted to adjust to life under the pandemic, thereby accelerating a number of structural trends. PHI provided an NAV total return of 86.1%, which eclipsed the return on the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan of 21.2%, the broader MSCI AC World of 12.7% and the average of its Asia Pacific sector peer group of 25.3%. PHI is the top-performing trust in this sector by a significant margin. Despite this stellar growth, PHI’s manager is not resting on his laurels. Emerging Asia still remains a high-growth and underresearched region, and he continues to focus on those themes he expects to do well over the next five years. For example, EV continues to be a significant theme and the manager has been increasing exposure to the commodities needed to deliver a greener future, but which the world is structurally short of, following long-term underinvestment.
Companies: Pacific Horizon Investment Trust
Further media reports that Dr Martens, the British Boot brand is planning an IPO on the LSE. It is currently owned by PE group, Permira who is expected to sell down its stake at the IPO. March 2020 YE the group had revenues of £672m and EBITDA of £184m. Deal size TBC. Upon Admission to AIM, Nightcap will acquire The London Cocktail Club Limited (the "London Cocktail Club"), which is an award winning independent operator of ten individually themed cocktail bars in nine London locations and one location in Bristol. Offer TBC Due mid Jan. HSS Hire Group, HSS.L transfer from Main to Aim. Mkt Cap c. £70m. Recently raised £52.6m. Leading supplier of tool and equipment for hire in the United Kingdom and Ireland and has provided equipment hire services in the United Kingdom for more than 60 years, primarily focusing on the B2B market. Due 14 Jan. VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities plc, a closed-ended investment Company focused on making sustainable energy infrastructure investments, today announces intends to launch an initial public offering of shares on the Official List (Premium) of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. Due by Early Feb.
Companies: IUG CBP KAT APP RST DIS NICL BOKU CNIC HE1
AuM grew by +43% (+16% organic) to £29.4bn in Q3. Investment performance was strong (+£2.5bn) as COVID vaccine news propelled markets. Net inflows were maintained qoq (£792m). Sustainable was the stand out performer (+24%). AuM has broken through £30bn post-period end. Better than expected AuM drives +3% FY21e EPS and +5% in outer years. Continued distribution efforts in Sustainable, Global Equity and Multi-Asset funds stands to catalyse earnings. Alongside flow momentum, 12x FY22e PER is not reflecting this upside.
Companies: Liontrust Asset Management PLC
Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust’s (MNP’s) manager Zehrid Osmani reports that his ongoing focus on long-term structural, sustainable business models was beneficial for the fund’s performance during the coronavirus-led market sell-off in Q120, with portfolio companies undertaking measures to protect their brand equity. He is encouraged by a general increase in investor awareness of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, an area of research that Martin Currie has focused on for several years, as he believes that ESG improvements can lead to higher total returns for shareholders. MNP’s performance has improved since the appointment of Osmani in October 2018, and its NAV is now ahead of its benchmark over the last one, three, five and 10 years.
Companies: Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust
Manolete has announced a good set of interim results with strong growth across the board and good operational momentum in case investments and completed cases. The shares have been on a wild ride through 2020 and look genuinely inexpensive on an earnings basis, accepting that cash will continue to be invested in new cases, we see good value here. Buy
Companies: Manolete Partners Plc
Pacific Horizon (PHI) generated a very impressive uplift in its NAV over the course of 2020. This reflects its focus on growth, and technology and biotechnology stocks in particular. These performed well as we attempted to adjust to life under the pandemic, thereby accelerating a number of structural trends. PHI provided an NAV total return of 86.1%, which eclipsed the return on the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan index of 21.2%, the broader MSCI AC World of 12.7% and the average of its Asia Pacific sector peer group (see page 23) of 25.3%. PHI is the topperforming trust in this sector by a significant margin. Despite this stellar growth, PHI’s manager is not resting on his laurels. Emerging Asia still remains a high-growth and underresearched region, and he continues to focus on those themes he expects to do well over the next five years. For example, companies exposed to the growth in electric vehicles (EV) continue to be a significant theme. The manager has been increasing exposure to the commodities needed to deliver a greener future, but which the world is structurally short of, following long-term underinvestment.
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (VEIL) is the largest and longest-established Vietnamese equities closed-end fund. The last quarter of 2019 and most of 2020 marked a period of portfolio repositioning for the fund. The team sold 14 holdings, and bought two, making the portfolio more focused (28 stocks at end 2020 versus 41 at end Q319) but better balanced by market cap as well as domestic and international business exposure. Over H220 the performance has picked up, with NAV total return of 28% versus 24% for the VN Index, after marginally lagging the benchmark over the past three years. The trust is well positioned for longer-term investors looking for an exposure to the fast-growing Vietnamese economy via a relatively large and liquid listed equities vehicle.
Companies: Vietnam Enterprise Investments
Volta Finance (VTA) posted a 5.7% decrease in NAV in 2020, recovering from the initial 32.4% drop in March. This was mainly supported by CLO equity tranches posting solid monthly returns in November and December 2020 at +11.0% and 9.7%, respectively. Volta had anticipated a downturn for some time and repositioned its portfolio into CLO equity over the last two years. During the early-2020 market turmoil, Volta’s manager focused on securing liquidity by fully deleveraging the portfolio and implementing cost-cutting initiatives. In December, Volta introduced a dividend policy to pay 8% of its NAV (in line with historical yields), which currently implies a prospective 9.2% yield on the share price.
Companies: Volta Finance
The demerger of Prudential has given birth to the third largest UK asset manager, M&G plc. With an important book of Life insurance products, mainly in its Heritage business unit, M&G should be able to cope with the low interest rates context. However, the company should benefit from the slow run-off profile of its business to generate stable operating earnings and cash flows. The focus will be given to Asian and US growth. We begin our coverage with an Add opinion.
Companies: M&G Plc