Today, Capitaland Mall Trust finally released more information on its proposed acquisition of Westgate as part of its EGM circular to unitholders. As a unitholder myself, I thought I’ll dive in, give my quick thoughts and speculate a bit.
The circular and presentation can be found here.
Capitaland Mall Trust is proposing to acquire the remaining 70% interest in Westgate that it doesn’t own from its sponsor, Capitaland. It will be holding an EGM on 10 am, 25th October 2018 to obtain unitholders’ approval to proceed with the acquisition.
As most Singaporeans know, Westgate is a mall located next to Jurong East MRT and is part of a mixed use development of retail and office space. It is also located within the Jurong Lake District, the planned 2nd CBD in Singapore. As such, it is a fantastic property location wise with some growth potential as the Lake District develops and matures.
The main details that were revealed as part of this circular relates to potential funding structures and their potential impact on the key valuation metrics of the REIT. 3 potential models of funding was illustrated: 70% debt funded, 85% debt funded and 100% debt funded, with the balance funded by equity where necessary.
As you can see here, the REIT has ability to fully fund the acquisition with debt without busting MAS gearing caps. Whether they choose to do so really depends on economic conditions at the time of fund raising.
Distribution per Unit
A key assumption for this illustration is that equity is raised at $2 per unit, which is a 8.3% discount to today’s closing price of $2.18. Under the above conditions (No more than 30% of funding raised by equity and at $2 per unit), the acquisition is yield accretive. This is only true if management keeps the financing structure within these parameters.
Net asset value
NAV post acquisition doesn’t change much. This means that the REIT is highly likely to be able to issue equity at a premium to book (based on illustrative price of $2 versus NAV of $1.93), which explains why the acquisition is able to be yield accretive at up to 70% LTV.
Here we enter the realm of speculation, let’s assume the acquisition is approved at the EGM, which is highly likely given the merits of the deal.
First question: What would the final financing structure be?
Whether they ultimately choose to fund it entirely through debt or partially fund it with equity really depends on economic factors like interest rate and cost of equity. As the REIT is currently trading at a premium to NAV, cost of equity is low as it is able to issue equity at a premium to valuation. Coupled with the fact that the REIT potentially might need the debt headroom for other acquisitions or to complete the construction of Funan, it definitely makes sense for the REIT to issue equity.
Second question: Since equity is likely to be issued, will there be a rights issue? In order to answer that, let’s take a look at a hypothetical scenario – if it was a rights issue for 70% LTV scenario, what would be the likely structure of the deal?
A whopping 3.5 units per 100 shares! Given a rights issue / preferential offering is much more expensive to conduct as compared to a private placement, my money is on the REIT managers doing a private placement instead, should they choose to partially fund it through equity.
So my best guess is that the acquisition will be funded by a mix of debt and equity, while equity will most likely be raised via private placement. So don’t feel too compelled to raise cash to participate in a potential rights issue. Let’s see if I’m ultimately right 😛
Do you agree with my guess? Let me know your thoughts!
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