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Author: simonsg   |   Latest post: Fri, 13 Dec 2019, 4:31 PM

 

EC World REIT - Proposed Acquisition of Fuzhou E-commerce Enhances Yield

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  • EC WORLD REIT (SGX:BWCU) has proposed to acquire Fuzhou E- Commerce for RMB 1,112.5m from its Sponsor, which will be fully funded by debt.
  • Strategic M&A to further anchor the REIT’s dominance in Hangzhou’s booming e-commerce sector.
  • Backed by 5+5 year master leases, the transaction is estimated to boost pro-forma DPU by 1.6%.
  • BUY recommendation and $0.86 Target Price unchanged pending unitholders’ approval at the upcoming EGM.

What’s New - Proposed Acquisition of Fuzhou E-commerce in Hangzhou

  • EC WORLD REIT (SGX:BWCU) has proposed to acquire Fuzhou E-commerce, an integrated E-commerce logistics asset from its Sponsor.
  • Located in Hangzhou, the 214,284 sqm property comprises of a three-storey warehouse with a single-storey basement and two fourteen-storey office and support buildings which are primarily office spaces for auxiliary use for dormitory purposes. The asset sits on 88,000 sqm of land with land tenure of a further 40 years, ending 2 May 2059.
  • Through master leases back to the Sponsor’s entities Fuyang Yunton and Zhejiang Yuntong for an initial term of 5+5 years, the acquired properties will come fully pre-committed with fixed rent escalations of 2.25% p.a., which ensures steady income growth for the REIT.
  • The acquisition price of RMB 1,112.5m (S$223.6m) represents a 7.5% discount to the average property valuation (with master lease agreement) by Colliers and Knight Frank of RMB1,203m. Excluding the master lease agreement, the effective discount would have been closer to 6.3% of average valuation of RMB1,187m. We understand that the acquisition will be fully funded by debt.

Our Thoughts

Anchoring its position as a leading e-commerce player in Hangzhou.

  • The asset is adjacent to one of EC World REIT’s existing assets – Fu Heng Warehouse - which is also focused on e-commerce related fulfilment activities, creating a 308,571sqm logistics hub. Through the acquisition of Fuzhou E-commerce, which is nearly twice the scale of Fu Heng Warehouse, allows the group to unlock operational efficiencies and further enhance its proposition in Hangzhou’s (and the Greater China) booming e-commerce industry.
  • According to industry experts, Hangzhou’s e-commerce sector expanded by 17.5% in 2018, while online retail sales in China grew 23.9%.
  • Located within Dongzhou Industrial Zone, the site enjoys convenient water transportation provided by Fuchun rivers and connectivity to downtown Hangzhou. This catchment is also well supported by demand from a wide spectrum of e-commerce players – ranging from brand manufacturers, online market places to last mile delivery companies, as well as other auxiliary facilities.
  • The warehouse is operated by Ruyicang (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sponsor), a leading omni-channel logistics service provider in China and one of the earliest key partners and service providers of Cainiao network (Alibaba’s logistics arm). Ruyicang currently operates more than 30 warehouses in China across 25 cities, with a footprint of over 1m sqm of warehouse space, processing more than 1.5m orders each day.

Enhanced e-commerce exposure, which is on a rapid growth trend.

  • The proposed acquisition will boost EC World REIT’s e-commerce exposure by NLA from 35.3% in FY18 to 49.7%, and 36.7% to 45.6% in NPI terms. Taking into account the new proposed master lease agreements for the acquisition, portfolio WALE will also be lengthened significantly from 1.8 to 4.8 years.
  • While we acknowledge that a majority of its income is derived from the Sponsor, which we estimate to be 74% of GRI post-acquisition vs 69% currently, this is balanced against improved income visibility to unitholders.

Earnings and DPU accretion to kick in as the REIT gears up to undertake the acquisition.

  • With an estimated initial yield of 6.4% and ample gearing headroom, the acquisition is projected to be earnings accretive to the REIT. Pro-forma DPU is projected to increase by 1.6% on the back of an increase in gearing to 38%. Post-acquisition, EC World REIT’s gearing will be more optimal and further acquisitions could entail potential fund raisings.

Quick take on 1Q19 results; 1.501 Scts DPU largely in line.

  • EC World REIT reported a 2.2% increase in 1Q19 DPU to 1.501 Scts (vs 1.469 Scts a year ago). This was despite a slight 1.4% dip in net property income to S$21.2m due to exchange differences. In RMB terms, NPI would be 1.9% higher y-o-y.
  • Meanwhile finance cost was higher due to higher loan quantum compared to a year ago.
  • Overall, Distribuable Income increased 3.1% y-o-y mainly due the absence of higher withholding taxes which were incurred in 1Q18.

Source: DBS Research - 12 May 2019

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