Simons Trading Research

Author: simonsg   |   Latest post: Tue, 13 Dec 2022, 10:52 AM


Suntec REIT - Operationally Strong Despite Rising Rates; BUY

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  • Suntec REIT (SGX:T82U)'s 3Q updates shows positive operational momentum accelerating across the Singapore office, retail, and convention portfolios, and the outlook remains positive.
  • The steeper-than-expected interest rate rise is starting to weigh-in in terms of increasing finance costs and falling interest cover. Management is looking at divestments more closely to mitigate some of this impact.
  • Overall asset values should remain stable, as positives from Suntec REIT’s Singapore portfolio mitigates weakness in overseas markets.

Suntec REIT's 3Q22 DPU Declined 6.6% Y-o-y

  • Suntec REIT's 3Q22 DPU declined 6.6% y-o-y, mainly driven by higher financing costs and management fees in units (50% vs 20% last year) – this more than offset NPI increases (+4%). DPU for the current quarter includes a capital top-up of S$0.20.
  • Management intends to maintain its capital top-up of S$5.8m per quarter for 4Q and will re-evaluate its plans vis-à-vis FY23. Suntec REIT will have S$23m in capital distributions left post 4Q distributions.
  • NPI margin slightly weakened to 72% (3Q21: 74%), mainly due to one-off factors at its overseas assets. The impact of rising manpower costs and utility charges moving forward will be mitigated by planned increases in service charges, in our view.

Strong Operational Improvement Across Its Singapore Portfolio

  • Singapore office occupancy rose 1.6ppts to 99.4% with improvements seen across all of Suntec REIT’s assets.
    • Key asset Suntec City’s offices are now at near-full occupancy (99.6%), marking a strong turnaround. Rent reversion (3Q) strengthened 5.9% (1H +5.5%) and is expected to remain positive as expiring rents (FY23) are ~10% below market levels.
    • Suntec City’s mall occupancy rose 0.6ppts q-o-q to 96.7% with rent reversions of +4.8% (2Q: +2.7%). This was backed by healthy tenant sales that, year-to-date, are ~20% above pre-COVID-19 levels.
    • The convention segment performed strongly too, with NPI turning around on the back of increased events.
  • Performances across Suntec REIT's overseas assets in the UK and Australia remain relatively stable, benefitting from their high quality due to the flight-to-quality trend.

Watching Gearing and Finance Costs Closely

  • Street’s key concerns on Suntec REIT: High gearing of 43.1% and low interest cover of 2.5x. – We do not see any threat of Suntec REIT breaching its 45% gearing, considering the strong Singapore portfolio performance. Management is evaluating divestment opportunities closely and does not see a need for dilutive equity fund-raising.
  • Its debt hedge increased slightly to 58% (2Q: 56%), though this remains among the lowest amongst other S-REITs. Every 50bps rate has a 5% DPU impact to Suntec REIT.

Suntec REIT - Valuation & Recommendation

  • We revise lower our FY23-24F DPU forecast for Suntec REIT by 5-6%, mainly factoring in higher interest costs. We also raised our COE assumption by 60bps, resulting in a lower target price for Suntec REIT.
  • Suntec REIT's ESG score to 3.1 out of 4.0 is a notch above the country median. Hence, we apply a 2% premium to the DDM-derived fair value.
  • Keep BUY rating on Suntec REIT with new S$1.70 target price from S$1.95, 23% upside and 6% yield.

Source: RHB Invest Research - 26 Oct 2022

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Labels: Suntec Reit

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Chart Stock Name Last Change Volume 
Suntec Reit 1.15 0.00 (0.00%) 788,200 

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