Investing and Trading REITs with Master Leases

Many master leases for SREITS are from sale-and-leaseback agreements in which the vendor sells the property into the REIT and leases it back for a period of time, usually for 5 years.

The drawbacks for such leases (for which I have been a critic) were well-documented in the Sabana Reit saga when it was seen as a form of financial engineering to get unitholders to buy into artificially high valuations for properties boosted by higher-than-market master lease tenants. Not surprisingly, Sabana Reit ended 2017 as the Worst-Performing SREIT, down 17.82% when it closed at 41.5 cents. As a comparison, the 2nd Worst-Performing SREIT – OUE Commercial Reit, ended flat at 70.5 cents.

This was a perfect case of an SREIT to short for it was short of ideas of how to handle a minority shareholders revolt.

The blowup in such master leases can cause underperformance for such SREITS, thus the smart investor should always be on guard.

Soilbuild Business Space REIT was hit by 2 master leases defaults of their tenants – They are NK Ingredients in the Chemicals industry and Technics Offshore Engineering in the Oil and Gas industry. Another offshore tenant, KTL Offshore also faced cashflow problems. The 3 problematic master leases accounted for 23% of Soilbuilt Reit’s net property income. Soilbuild Reit has the 4th Highest Master Lease/Total NPI at 58% after EC World Reit, AIMS AMPI Reit and OUE Hospitality Reit.

The defaults of the 3 master leases sent the share price of Soilbuild Reit down to 64 cents, a great level for my entry into the Reit. This price is almost near to its all-time low of 63.5 cents reached in Dec 2016.

Subsequently in Dec 2017, Soilbuild Reit announced that its properties at 61 and 71Tuas Bay Drive which are master leased to KTL Offshore will be sold back to its sponsor. The news saw the share price rebound to close 2017 at 67 cents.

EC World Reit has the Highest Total Master Lease/Total Revenue at 78%. It has 3 of its 6 IPO assets, namely Bei Gang Logistics, Fu Heng Warehouse and Chongxian Port Investments under Master Leases from its sponsor Forchn Holdings Group. These master leases are for 5 years and account for close to 70% of NPI.

Sadly, there have not been much concrete developments from EC World Reit since its IPO as 2 of its previous CEOs – Mr Peter Lai Hock Meng and Mr Alvin Cheng (whose tenure was only for a few months), have resigned during this short period of 26 Jul 2016, its IPO date to currently. Not surprisingly, its 2017 year-end closing price of 77.5 cents is still below its IPO price of 81 cents.

I continue (as I have in the past 15 years) to watch the key variables affecting SREITS as they afford the smart investor great profits to be made.

Investor who are keen to learn all the necessary skills in capitalizing on such SREITS fortunes can sign up for our 1st Master Class on 31 Mar 2018 at http://notice.shareinvestor.com/email/2018mar_gabrielyap/index.html

See you.

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