Friday, November 30, 2012

Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust (LMIR Trust) to Acquire Pejaten Village and Binjai Supermall

Just received a circular dated 26 Nov 2012 from Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust (or LMIR Trust) that states : "This circular is important and requires your immediate attention".  Okay.  All circulars come with that label but even though it requires my immediate attention, I am way to busy to flip through a thick circular at the end of a typical work day.

Well, I finally got some time to flip through the circular and realised that it was in relation to the following 3 items:

  • Proposed acquisition of Pejaten Village from an Interested Person;
  • Proposed acquisition of Binjai Supermall from an Interested Person; and
  • The Whitewash Resolution
Just by reading the title, a few questions started popping in my head.  They are basically:

  • Who is this Interested Person?
  • How much do these acquisitions cost and are they yield accretive?
  • What is the Whitewash Resolution?  (it almost sounds like some top secret codename for something).
A quick flip through the circular has given me the answers.

Who is this Interested Person?

Firstly, an "Interested Person Transaction" is defined in the footnotes as "a transaction between an entity at risk and an Interested Person". The properties are owned by Lippo Karawachi's subsidiaries (?).  Actually, after flipping through the document and taking a quick glance, I am not certain whether this is explicitly stated inside the document or that as an investor, I am supposed to derive that companies like Sea Pejaten Pte. Ltd is a subsidiary of LMIR's sponsor.  Or perhaps, I am just not familiar enough with legal terms like "Interested Person".  Does "Interested Person" in LMIR Trust's case specifically only referring to one single entity (i.e. Lippo Karawachi) ?

How much do these acquisitions cost and are they yield accretive?

Pejaten Village = S$95.1 million
Binjai Supermall = S$30.2 million

The average of independent valuations for Pejaten Village and Binjai Supermall are S$108.8 million and S$31.8million respectively.  So LMIR Trust is buying these two properties at a discount.  The occupancy rates of both the malls look strong at 96.3% and 91.2% respectively.

I was looking for the word "yield accretive" in the document but could not find it.  It does however state that it expects a 16.3% increase in LMIR Trust's Net Property Income.  Also, based on the pro-forma DPU and financial effects, it seems that the distribution yield will actually go down.  So these acquisitions are probably not yield accretive.  Hopefully, LMIR Trust will be able to carry out some asset enhancement initiatives to improve the yield of these properties.

On the plus side, the acquisitions are at a discount, will help enhance the earnings of LMIR Trust, are at locations with sustainable retail traffic, will increase economies of scale, and also diversify the portfolio to minimise concentration risks.

What is the Whitewash Resolution? 

The Whitewash Resolution is perhaps the most important resolution to be passed at the EGM since the purchase of the properties are conditional on this Whitewash Resolution. 

Basically, the manager is seeking approval from Independent Unitholders for a waiver their rights to receive a Mandatory Offer from the Sponsor and parties.  This is simply because the acquisition fees to be paid out the manager could possibly result in the number units held by the Sponsor and parties acting in concert with it to be above 30%.

What this means is that the Sponsor and the parties are not interested in taking over LMIR and thus do not want to make a mandatory offer as required under regulation

Cross Timbers Royalty Trust

I had read about Cross Timbers Royalty Trust (listed on the US stock exchange) many years ago and had placed it in my stock watchlist but never got the chance to look at it.  All along, I thought this monthly dividend paying stock was involved in timbers or harvesting of logs.  And so I was a little hesitant to invest in it.

To my surprise, Cross Timbers Royalty Trust (or CRT as per its ticker symbol on NYSE) has nothing to do with timbers.  One wonders why they give such a name to this trust anyway. As I speak, it is currently trading at US$26.37 and pays out a regular monthly dividend.  The last dividend paid out was in October at around 18.62 cents per share.  Of course, as a foreigner, one will probably incur some kind of withholding tax.

A little about CRT.  It is an express trust and the principal asset of the trust is the net profit interests.  I guess this means it does not hold any physical assets and that the only thing it has is derived from the interests in profits it obtains from various royalty interest properties (oil and gas) located in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  Its website is also pretty simple and sparse with little information.  All the properties are owned by XTO Energy Inc. Bank of America, N.A. is the trustee.

This monthly dividend paying stock is trading near its  52 week low probably because of a steady decline in its dividends.  DPU for the 3rd Quarter of 2012 was $0.544601 as compared to 3Q2011 of  $0.860987.  The lower distributions have been attributed to lower gas prices, decreased oil/gas production and increased development costs.

Not yet vested but watching it closely.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spending for Yesterday

This is my spending for yesterday:

Breakfast = $2.90
Groceries = $3.40
Lunch (skipped)
Dinner = $150
Household items = $250

Realised that I have been spending quite a bit on food.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Investments and Dividends for November

Made quite a few investments this month.  Bought into a few stocks/REITs:

  • 50,000 shares of Thakral
  • 10,000 shares of LMIR
  • 20,000 shares of Saizen
Dividends/passive income for November was quite okay.  Roughly $250.  Most of it were contributed by Gamco Global Gold and Natural Trust (GGN) and Armour Residential REIT (ARR). ARR is a mortgage REIT.  Both stock prices hve declined quite a fair bit but I will like to think that my strategy is one where I will diversify a bit into other stocks rather than focusing on just these two stocks.

I also bought some shares of the Coca Cola Company (KO).  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spending for Today

I read a book about real estate investing and it suggested keeping a budget for one month so that one is aware where all your money is going to.  I don't really live by a budget and I will like to think that I spend my money quite carefully.  But having tracked my daily expenditure for this month, I am quite surprised at what I have discovered.  Will probably share a little of my findings when I am comfortable.

Anyway, here is today's spending:

Breakfast (at home) = Nil
Coffee = $2.20
Lunch = $54.00
Dessert+Coffee = $10
Present/Gift = $23
Dinner (at home) = Nil

Reader's Query

A reader read one of my postings and asked whether he could buy some of the stocks that were listed in that posting.

The short answer to his query is "No".

Let me share why I might from time to time share what is on my watchlist or what I have already bought into my portfolio.  It is basically to let readers know what stocks I own and what stocks I am watching so that they know I have vested interest when I am talking about those stocks.  In a sense, I am also trying to get some feedback and thoughts from readers on why they think certain stocks may or may not be good investments.

Spending for Today

Let's take a look at my spending today.

Breakfast = $3.20
Lunch = $4.75
Coffee = $1.50
Dinner (at Home)
Dessert + Tea = $11.60

Total spending for the day is slightly over $20.  Of course, I did not include transportation costs.  But a quick look suggests that all my expenditure went into food.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ascott REIT - Presentation by CEO Tay Boon Hwee

CEO Tay Boon Hwee of Ascott REIT gives a presentation and gives a good detailed explanation of Ascott REIT's business and how it differs from a hotel and a normal condominium.  Here are the few points that were made during the video:

  • Sponsor of Ascott REIT is Ascott Limited.  Ascott Ltd is o world's largest serviced residences owner and operator.
  • 7260 units across 24 cities in 12 countries in Asia Pacific and Europe
  • Operates under the brands of The Ascott Residence, Citadines and Somerset Residence
  • $2.9bil portfolio
  • Major shareholder is Capitaland which owns 49% of Ascott REIT
What is a serviced residence?

A hybrid between hotel and apartment.  Provides the comforts of an apartment and essential services one will expect to see at a hotel. like laundry, daily housekeeping and limited F&B services.  

Key differences  lies in the lease structure.  Hotels cater for short term stay ranging from one day to one or two weeks.  Target audience is also the leisure market and the corporate market. Apartment for rents on the otherhand are typically rented out for at least one year.  Serviced residence thus are able to capitalise on the gap, focusing on the long stay segment,  looking at between stays of 1 month to 1 year stay.  The focus is also on the corporate market and not the leisure market.

Ascott REIT's weighted average length of stay is 4 to 5 months.  This provides stability to the REIT.  It is also less affected by the seasonal demands one would expect arising from tourists.

Serviced residences also only cater 1-2 F&B facilities to the guests and not to the public.  They also do not include banquet halls or function room.

Serviced residence comprises studio apartments, 1/2/3 bedroom.  This can be from 30 sqm to even 100 over sqm.  All apartment units come with fully equipped kitchen facilities.

Hotel staff to room ratio is around 1:1
Serviced Residence staff to room ration is around 0.3~0.5: 1

Sources of Income for Ascott

Broadly classified into 3 categories.

Firstly, properties under management contract.  Ascott REIT enters into a management contract with the operator (Ascott) to maange and operate the property on its behalf. A property management fee is paid in return to Ascott. which is tied to gross revenue and gross operating profit.  18 of its properties (mainly located in Asia Pacific) are under this arrangement.

Secondly, are properties on master leases.  Ascott REIT enters into a master lease agreement with the lesse regardless of the performance of the property.  A fixed rental income is given and this provides stability.  This is mainly in Europe (France & Germany), Philippines and Singapore.

Thirdly, are properties on management contract with minimum income.  Similar to the first category except that a minimum income is guaranteed.

[Disclaimer:  Writer owns shares in Ascott REIT]

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Three Great Ideas to Spend Your Annual Bonus

It did not seem too long ago that I was writing about what I should do with my annual bonus.  Most people will be getting their annual bonus in December and I thought that it will be timely to look at a few great ideas on how to spend one's annual bonus.

1.  Insurance

Most people are under-insured.  But one should also be careful not to be over-insured or to be overpaying for insurance.  Some time back, I wrote about one of the cheaper if not cheapest insurance plan in town.  It is NTUC's i-term insurance.  I don't work for NTUC so I can't vouch for this plan.  Neither do I own this insurance plan.  But looking at the rates, it definitely looks like one of the cheaper insurance options around.

Another cheap insurance plan one could consider (if you are a national serviceman or woman) is the SAF Group Term Insurance plan.  Just recently, Aviva has increased the maximum coverage from $600,000 to $1million.  Another thing I like about this group term plan is that it gives rebates.  I am currently covered under this plan and am considering whether to increase my coverage.

I also wrote about whether one is ready to take charge of one's healthcare costs and you might want to consider reading it especially if you are a Singaporean.

Of course, before you dive in and go out shopping for an insurance policy, I must caveat that everyone has to do their due diligence.  In fact, during one of the polls conducted on this blog,  the poll results indicated that many people considered insurance products as toxic investments.  Of course, there is nothing scientific in the way I conducted the poll and it is just the opinion of readers.  I also recommend the following articles on insurance:

2.  Invest

Of course, besides saving up your annual bonus, one could also chose to invest it in instruments that could potentially give you a higher return than the interests rates offered by banks (can someone remind me again what is the interest rates banks are offering again?) 

Most readers should know that I invest mainly for income with capital gains as a secondary goal.  To understand a little more about income investing, I would refer you to some of the previous articles that I have written:
For myself, I am looking at a few stocks that pay good dividends.  On my current watchlist are Sabana REIT, Saizen REIT, Ascott REIT, Far East Hospitality Trust, Lippo Malls Indonesian Retail Trust, SingTel, Capitaland, United Engineers.

3.  Pay off Your Debts

This is self-explanatory.  If you have credit card debt, you should be paying that off before even thinking of investing.  The interest rates on any outstanding credit card bills is just too high to justify you not paying off that debt first.  

For others, you might want to consider making pre-payments or full redemptions of other outstanding loans (e.g. auto loan, mortgages).  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Random Thoughts

Have been busy lately so have not been finding much time to write anything new.  And not that there is anything new that I can contribute in terms of financial knowledge to the already booming community.  There are so many high quality articles on newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc where one can find information about investing and personal finance that it is making me re-think what is my purpose in maintaining this blog and whether it is still worthwhile to put in time, effort and energy into something where my contributions are perhaps not worth mentioning.  After all, there are so many other ppl who are much more knowledgeable and who write much better than me.

The amount of emails that I get are also way too many for me to reply and track (so sorry if I have not been responding).  I am too busy to attend any events, market products or liaise with people to exchange links/post guests postings.  Ask any blogger and I am certain they will tell you this is like doomsday for any blog.  But this approach has served me pretty well thus far.  I know blogging is about building a community but I don't really have that much time on my hands.

Because I have been "dry" on new things to write, I have started reading quite a fair bit.  Just finished a book by David Bach on the Automatic Millionaire.Homeowner.( I read another of his books previously on the Automatic Millionaire which is sort of summarised here)  It was really easy to read and I skipped all the parts that were not really relevant to me so managed to finish the entire book in less than a day.

It was written in 2005 before the subprime crisis but the main idea is that we should all aspire to own our own homes rather than rent a home since owning a home is a way to automate savings simply by forcing oneself to save.  Of course, that is assuming that your home value does not drop drastically along the way.

Another idea that I like is that one should try to become a landlord and rent out your house.  It has always been something that I have thought of doing.

The last takeaway I had from the book was the idea of bi-weekly mortgage payments.  The concept is to make more mortgage payments (or pre-payments) so that you pay less interest on the mortgage loans.  Of course, I am certain many people disagree with this approach as they will cite low interest rates in Singapore as a very good reason to stretch out your mortgage loans as long as possible.

Just a quick and short sharing.

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