Another round of earnings season is here again – with retail REIT SPH REIT being the first among the companies I’ve invested in to release its business updates for the first quarter of the financial year 2021/22 ended 30 November 2021 last Friday (07 January 2022) evening.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the REIT, its property portfolio has a total of 5 retail properties in Singapore (Paragon, The Clementi Mall, and The Rail Mall), and in Australia (Figtree Grove, and Westfield Marion.)

As the REIT is one of those who have opted to report its full financial results on a half-yearly basis, in this quarter, it only provided an update on its portfolio occupancy, as well as its debt profile – both of which we’ll take a look at in this post:

Portfolio Occupancy (Q4 FY2020/21 vs. Q1 FY2021/22)

When it comes to studying a REIT’s portfolio occupancy, I tend to look at the statistics reported for the current quarter under review and compare against the statistics reported for the previous quarter to find out whether or not they have improved, remained more or less the same, or weakened.

In this section, I will be comparing SPH REIT’s portfolio occupancy recorded for the first quarter of the financial year 2021/22 ended 30 November 2021 against that recorded in the fourth quarter of the financial year 2020/21 ended 31 August 2021:

Q4 FY2020/21Q1 FY2021/22
Portfolio Occupancy
(%)
98.8%98.8%
Portfolio WALE (by
NLA – Years)
5.4 years5.5 years
Portfolio WALE (by
GRI – Years)
2.7 years2.9 years
** WALE: Weighted Average Lease Expiry, NLA: Net Lettable Area, GRI: Gross Rental Income

My Observations: It’s good to note that the REIT’s overall portfolio occupancy rate for its malls continued to remain very resilient – with no dip when compared against the previous quarter.

Debt Profile (Q4 FY2020/21 vs. Q1 FY2021/22)

Similar to how I have reviewed the REIT’s portfolio occupancy profile, I tend to also compare the its debt profile recorded for the current quarter under review against that recorded in the previous quarter 3 months ago.

With that, let us find out in the table below whether or not the REIT’s debt profile have strengthened, remained more or less the same, or deteriorated:

Q4 FY2020/21Q1 FY2021/22
Gearing Ratio
(%)
30.3%N.A.
Average Term to
Debt Maturity (years)
2.9 years2.7 years
Average Cost of
Debt (%)
1.8%1.7%

My Observations: The REIT did not report its gearing ratio for the current quarter under review. However, in terms of its average term to debt maturity as well as its average cost of debt, it is more or less the same compared to the previous quarter.

For the remaining 3 quarters of the current financial year, S$155m (or 11.9%) of its debts will be maturing.

Distribution Payout to Unitholders

Despite switching to reporting its full financial results on a half-yearly basis, SPH REIT still continues to declare a distribution payout to its unitholders on a quarterly basis.

For the current quarter under review, the REIT will only be releasing details about its distribution payout, along with book closure and payout dates on a later date (after the auditor and financial advisor’s reports are completed), as the REIT is involved in the takeover of SPH (you can read the announcement in full here.)

Closing Thoughts

As a unitholder of the retail REIT, it’s pleasing to note that the REIT’s portfolio occupancy has continued to remain resilient, and that its debt profile have more or less remain unchanged compared to the previous quarter.

Looking ahead, I’m of the opinion that the worst is over for the retail industry – rather than implementing lockdowns, many governments around the world are pushing for vaccination and booster shots to bring the pandemic under control, along with introducing vaccination differentiated measures in higher risk settings such as in food and beverage outlets, shopping malls, cinemas, etc.

Also, as far as Singapore is concerned, with effect from 01 January 2022, 50.0% of the workforce who have been working from home are able to return to their offices (with many companies also requesting their employees to return to their work places) – this should help to further improve footfall (and also tenant sales) of SPH REIT’s Paragon Mall.

Related Documents

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, I am a unitholder of SPH REIT.

 

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