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Author: SGX   |   Latest post: Wed, 13 Oct 2021, 7:23 PM


REIT Watch - Suburban-focused Retail S-Reits Average 7.6% in Total Returns YTD

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Retail SREIT

At over 80 per cent of the population, Singapore has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates globally. Booster shots are also underway as part of efforts towards a progressive full reopening and strategy to treat Covid-19 as endemic.

Sectors such as retail, travel and hospitality remain poised to benefit in the long run as borders reopen progressively and social activities return.

Singapore is working on establishing a vaccinated travel lane with several countries including some European countries, the United States and South Korea.

In the near term and somewhat physically closer to our homes, suburban malls have demonstrated relevance and resilience amid extended restrictions and Work-From-Home (WFH) trends with exposure to essential trades such as supermarkets and food and beverage outlets.

There are five S-REITs with exposure to suburban-focused retail malls in Singapore – Frasers Centrepoint Trust, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust, SPH REIT, Mapletree Commercial Trust, and Lendlease Global Commercial REIT through its 31.8 per cent indirect interest in JEM. These five have averaged 7.6 per cent in total returns in the year-to-date.

These five have averaged 7.6 per cent in total returns in the year to date (YTD).

Suburban malls are located near residential neighbourhoods and provide residents with necessities and convenience.

SPH Reit, which owns a portfolio of retail malls in Singapore and Australia, recently reported full-year fiscal year (FY) 2021 results.

Gross revenue increased 14.8 per cent year on year to S$277.2 million and net property income increased 11.4 per cent year on year to S$202.6 million.

Distribution per unit (DPU) for Q4 FY 2021 was 1.58 cents, bringing its full year DPU to 5.40 cents which is 98 per cent higher year on year and 3.6 per cent away from FY 2019's DPU (pre-Covid).

Despite softer leasing sentiments across its portfolio, SPH Reit noted that the defensive nature of suburban malls has supported tenant sales at The Clementi Mall, bringing it to pre-Covid levels and in line with resilient suburban malls' performances.

The Clementi Mall observed a 33 per cent decrease in footfall but a 5 per cent increase in tenant sales, mitigated by its close proximity to residential homes.

CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust has a portfolio of suburban retail malls including Bedok Mall, Junction 8, Tampines Mall, and Westgate.

In the Reit's earlier first half (H1) 2021 results announcement, it noted that retail tenant sales continued to outpace shopper traffic, with both improving more than 104 per cent year on year on a low base effect.

H1 2021 tenant sales have recovered to 86.3 per cent against the 2019 average while shopper traffic was at 61.3 per cent against 2019.

Frasers Centrepoint Trust has a portfolio of nine Singapore suburban retail malls.

In its earlier business update, the Reit's tenant sales had recovered to near pre-Covid levels at end 2020 and in early 2021, despite being impacted in the third quarter (Q3) 2021 from April to June due to the tightened control measures during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).

Mapletree Commercial Trust's VivoCity mall also noted year-on-year improvements in shopper traffic and tenant sales in Q1 FY21/22 but recovery momentum was disrupted by re-tightened Covid-19 measures.

Aside from SPH Reit, the rest of the S-Reits will be reporting quarterly results and business updates over the next few weeks. 

REIT Watch is a weekly column on The Business Times, read the original version.

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