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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Much has been written about the effects of the virus on the world and on the stock market. Here is one analyst’s take on some of the likely impacts on the way we should look at companies. This article was originally produced as a blog, “10 Changes Post Virus”, which was published a few weeks ago.
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Primary Health Properties PLC (LON:PHP) recently announced the acquisition of a portfolio of 20 medical centres across England and Wales for a total of £47.1mln before costs, and a conditional contract to acquire two further medical centres for £6.9mln. These are primary healthcare facilities, with
Companies: Primary Health Properties
There has been much comment on the fact that equity markets in the US and Europe have been shrinking for some years now, certainly in terms of the number of quoted companies, if not in total market capitalisation (MCap). This paper has been written with the assistance of the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) and focuses on the evidence for such in the London market and, in particular, that for smaller and midcap companies. It assesses that evidence and considers explanations. Finally, we ask why it matters, and assuming that it does, what practical steps can be taken to reverse the trend. Successful public markets have been a key part of the United Kingdom’s economic success for generations, even centuries, and we should not allow them to wither on the vine.
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The covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the share price of property companies, with 31% wiped off the value of their total market capitalisation during the first quarter of 2020.
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To accompany its AGM, Primary Health Properties (PHP) issued a trading update covering Q120. With 90% of contracted rental income paid directly or indirectly by the UK or Irish governments and the balance primarily coming from co-located pharmacies, rent collection remained robust through Q120. Reflecting the security and predictability of cash flows, PHP has no change to dividend policy and confirms payment of the recently declared second quarterly DPS of 1.475p as planned.
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Today's news & views, plus announcements from AAL, SSE, CCH, NXT, FLTR, MGGT, PHP, RMG, BBY, RDW, DOM,WJG, GATC,
The merger with MedicX has been transformational for Primary Health Properties (PHP). It brought together two high-quality, complementary portfolios, delivered immediate operational and financial synergies with the potential for more, and provided investors with an increased market capitalisation and enhanced share liquidity. PHP is well placed to profitably address the substantial investment needs of the primary healthcare sectors in the UK and Ireland and benefit from increasing evidence of accelerating rental growth.
Much of the UK’s privatisation programme took place between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s: subsequent sales have been few. Undoubtedly, privatisation attracted many private investors to the market, many for the first time.
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2019 results were announced on 12 February. 90% of PHP’s income is backed by the UK or RoI governments. Occupancy consistently exceeds 99%. We are confident investors will still seek out REITs with a strong focus on categories that provide security of rising income. PHP’s DPS growth rate is accelerating, in contrast to the wider real estate market. 2019’s complementary MedicX merger was transformational, driving improvements that continue strongly in the short term, as well as being strategically beneficial. PHP has reduced costs of borrowing and overhead ratios, benefiting 2019, but also impacting 2020 and 2021 onwards.
Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on Primary Health Properties.
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Accelerating activity in to FY21
Companies: Manolete Partners
With a new CEO, Amanda Blanc, Aviva’s shareholders could dream of a possible change in the group’s strategy, with a more focused insurance business. The new Chief has an opportunity to take painful decisions in a year where no one will require a high operating performance.
Companies: Aviva Plc
The Native Antigen Company (“NAC”) has been acquired by LGC for up to £18.0m – with the ongoing COVID pandemic highlighting the value of knowledge and execution in the infectious diseases space. Mercia invested in NAC via both its balance sheet and 3rd party funds. The exit represents a strong return for both sources of capital, validating complete connected capital to optimise value creation. For the balance sheet stake, the £5.2m proceeds represent a £2.5m gain on realisation (c.1.5% of our FY21e NAVps). Final Results will be announced next week, when we will review our forecasts. The shares are currently trading at a 45% discount to NAV (which is 20% cash). Today’s exit demonstrates justification for a much narrower discount, if not a premium, to conservative carrying values.
Companies: Mercia Technologies
Trading Well in Tough Market
Companies: Palace Capital
HgCapital Trust’s (HGT) 12-month NAV TR to end-March 2020 was a solid 13.8% despite the COVID-19 market downturn in March 2020 (ytd NAV performance since end-December 2019 was a 6.2% decline). The coverage ratio reached a historically low level (13% vs three-year average of 53%) after HGT notably increased its investment activity and commitments in Q120. However, a significant part of these new commitments will not be drawn in the near term. The board continues to review its future funding arrangements and may also opt out of a new investment without penalty across all funds. HGT’s portfolio focus is on the resilient software and technology sector and the manager expects a limited direct earnings impact on its portfolio from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies: Hgcapital Trust
Hot on the heels of the Architas acquisition – announced 1st July, Liontrust has issued in line final results (£38.1m adj. PBT vs £38.3m consensus, 24p second interim dividend). An accompanying trading update also confirms that AuM bounced back in Q1 as markets recovered and net inflows were sustained at a record £971m for the quarter. The Architas acquisition – once completed later this year – stands to drive Liontrust through the £25bn AuM mark and bolster the existing multi-asset product offering and wider appeal to the current client base. As joint corporate broker, we have withdrawn forecasts pending the approval of the acquisition at the forthcoming general meeting.
Companies: Liontrust Asset Management
Hipgnosis Songs Fund (SONG LN) has today announced a trading update for the full year ending 31 March 2020. The unaudited NAV has risen 13% YoY to 116.7p, up 14.3% since the last published NAV of 102.2p as at 10 January 2020. This represents a like for like valuation uplift of 11.4%. All equity has been fully deployed and shareholder approval has been sought to increase net debt from 20% to 30%. Revenue is strong with £64.7m generating an EPS of 10.7p (more than 2x the annual 5p dividend target). NAV growth has been driven by revenue statements which were up 2%, and an increase in streaming growth rate assumptions by the independent valuers. The portfolio comprises 54 catalogues, with 13,291 individual songs, now valued at £757m which was acquired at purchase price of £697m on an acquisition multiple of 13.9x – now valued on 15.0x historical earnings.
Companies: Hipgnosis Songs Fund Ld
Ground Rents Income Fund (GRIO) has today released its interim results for the period ending 31 March 2020. The fully diluted NAV is 110.1p down marginally from previous NAV of 111.3p as at 30 September 2019 year-end. This valuation included a material valuation uncertainty clause as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has subsequently been removed since the period end for long dated ground rent valuations given the defensive nature of the income streams and continued market/transactional activity. The latest valuation represented a decrease on a like for like basis of £0.36 million or -0.3%. Two Interim dividends were paid during the six-month period ending 31 March totalling 1.98p, and a further dividend of 0.99p has been declared today (ex 16 July / payable 10 August). Dividend cover excluding the non-recurring litigation costs on Beetham Tower was 90%. Assuming a full year dividend of c4p this puts the shares on a flat yield of 4.9% and a discount of 26%.
Companies: Ground Rents Income Fund
Numis’ update for Q320 was positive, reflecting both the need for equity funding in the market and the strength of the group’s franchise as well as its ability to deal with current operating constraints. Subject to the market background in its final quarter, we now expect Numis to achieve a full-year result in line with or ahead of the high end of our previous scenario range.
Companies: Numis Corporation
Equals' FY19A results confirm another year of strong, double-digit revenue and adj EBITDA growth. The move to a B2B focused offering continues to progress and looks well timed in view of Covid-19's impact on overseas travel. While the pandemic impacted Q2/20E trading early on, we note June KPI's indicate a positive rebound. Given the continued uncertainty as to Covid's full impact upon FY20E trading, we refrain from reissuing forecasts and thus leave our recommendation under review.
Companies: Equals Group
ICGT, the 39-year listed private equity (PE) investor, has delivered a total NAV return of 178% over 10 years (comparable FTSE All Share return 61%). Since Intermediate Capital became the manager in 2016, ICGT has earned mid-teen p.a. underlying returns every year. This has been achieved by leveraging the attractive PE market with incremental manager synergies. It has a concentrated portfolio of “high-conviction” investments (19% p.a. average returns over five years, 42% of portfolio, defensive growth focus) and a diversified third-party PE funds book. ICGT manages over-commitment tightly. The 33% discount to NAV is above peers.
Companies: ICG Enterprise Trust
In parallel with its H120 interim results, Mercia has announced the acquisition of NVM’s VCT business for up to £25m in cash and equity, funded by a £30m placing at 25p per share (a 22% discount). Subject to shareholder approval, the acquisition increases AUM to £760m and moves Mercia towards being the UK’s number one regional investor. The deal expands Mercia’s shareholder register, further dilutes existing major shareholders and means Mercia should be profitable before fair value adjustments, closer to its target of an evergreen model (c £1bn AUM). In its H120 results, Mercia’s direct investment portfolio increased to £102.0m, with £11.1m of cash invested in 16 companies and a fair value uplift of £3.2m. Mercia has £17.8m of unrestricted balance sheet cash (pre-placing) and the shares continue to trade at a significant discount to NAV.
Tatton passed the March 2020 market-crash stress-test with flying colours. Financial advisers continued to trust it with their clients’ money – net fund inflows were £86m in March (just under the FY20 average of £94m pm) – at a time when many funds saw record outflows. Over FY20 Tatton recorded £1.1bn of inflows, and despite the market bottom nearly coinciding with the 31-Mar year-end, AUM closed 10% above FY19 on £6.7bn. Revenue grew 22% to £21.4m; adjusted operating profit was up 24% to £9.1m; PAT jumped 72% from £4.9m to £8.4m; and full-year dividend increased 14% from 8.4p to 9.6p, a yield of 3.3%. Tatton remains debt-free with £12.8m of net cash.
Companies: Tatton Asset Management
We are introducing our Best Ideas for 2019 and also review the performance of last year’s picks. We suggest ten solidly financed stocks with good business dynamics that ought to be considered for core portfolio holdings and six UK domestically focused stocks that our analysts believe should perform strongly in the event that uncertainties unwind. We also introduce a new style of research from N+1 Singer which presents a Company’s dynamics and metrics in a clear and concise manner and concentrates on the pivotal issues affecting that Company and an investment decision.
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Mercia’s business update highlighted the breadth of its portfolio (c 400 companies) and the strength of its cash position – £30.4m of unrestricted balance sheet cash and £190m of investment capital in its managed funds, giving c £220m of uninvested cash. However, with lower revenues now expected in FY21, Mercia also recognises that the valuations of both the NVM VCT portfolios, whose fund management contracts were acquired in December (22% fall in average NAV), and its own portfolio have been affected by market conditions. With group results not due until July, based on a read-across from the 22% fall in the NVM portfolios, we calculate a hard NAV for Mercia of 25.0p. Added to our assumption of the value of the third-party fee-earning funds business (2–3% of a reduced FUM), this would imply an indicative value for Mercia of 30.6–33.4p. Mercia trades at a c 50% discount to our indicative value today.