AGM Season is upon us. Companies with December year ends are all having to their AGMs so that they can meet ACRA reporting deadlines and approve their final dividend payouts scheduled in May. As such, I’ll be taking some half days of leave to attend a couple of the AGMs of companies / REITs that I own.
The first AGM I attended this year is Capitaland Mall Trust (CMT) which was held yesterday morning at The Star Performing Arts Centre. Here is a quick summary of the things I learnt at the meeting.
As this is my first time attending CMT’s AGM, I was pleasantly surprised by the door gift.
Apparently, CMT distributes $20 Capitaland Vouchers to AGM attendees in lieu of buffets. In my opinion this is better as it adds 0.25% to my cost yield ?
This actually makes me wonder if other Capitaland related REITs or even Capitaland themselves give out Capitaland Vouchers at their respective AGMs. If they do, perhaps its a good strategy to own 100 units / shares of all the Capitaland related listed entities just to attend AGMs and get the $20 Vouchers.
Let’s do the math:
- Shares Cost: $368 (Capitaland) + $238 (CMT) + $154 (CRCT) + $198 (CCT) + $120 (Ascott) = $1,078
- Commissions: $25 (Average commissions) x 1.07 (GST) x 5 = $133.75
- Total Cost (ignoring minimal SGX clearing fees) = $1,211.75
- Annual Return: 100 / 1,211.75 = 8.25%
That is a guaranteed 8.25% annual return, without taking into account dividends! You just need to spend $1,211.75 and spend 2 days of your life annually at AGMs.
Sounds like a great retirement gig. ?
I digress. The meeting itself was quite fast and smooth. Everything was completed in less than 2 hours. Having only attended Keppel Corp’s AGMs in the past, this was quite refreshing to know that not all AGMs have drama and people demanding management to apologise.
I guess it’s a testament to the quality of management and the performance of REIT unit price that people are rather happy with the REIT.
Things I learnt
CEO Tony Tan (not the former president) ran through a deck of slides and the Board took questions from investors after that. Here’s a summary of what I found interesting:
Retail Omni-channel Experiments
CMT is currently testing various retail concepts to complement e-commerce players and help them develop retail strategies. Here are some of them:
CMT is currently testing a store concept called NomadX at Plaza Singapura where e-Commerce stores like Taobao and others can come in to test their physical retail concepts. It is touted as a plug and play solution. If successful, CMT may look to shift those retail concepts out to their traditional store units.
I honestly don’t fully understand the concept (partly due to the not very useful corp comm video and generalised description in the slide). I’ll probably have to find an excuse to visit Plaza Singapura to check it out for myself.
Click and Collect services at Funan
CMT will be testing Click and Collect services at Funan when it opens, a first in Singapore. This means you can order items online from their e-commerce partners and collect the items at Funan. Apparently this service will be a automated process using a robot arm and you can drive thru collect your items. Pretty cool stuff.
Funan is still on schedule to be launched mid 2019. Committed occupancy stands at 80% as at 31 December 2018. Management assures that the figure will be updated during Q1 2019 Results announcement on 24 April.
Retail Supply for 2019
Other than the Funan opening in mid 2019, Paya Lebar Quarter and Jewel Changi Airport will add a significant amount of retail supply to the market. Beyond 2019, retail supply will stabilise, boding well for longer term retail rents.
Quite a few questions were directed at concerns that Jewel Changi Airport will affect footfall and rental demand at CMT malls. Management assures that they will monitor the impact and take pro active action to mitigate its effects. Personally, I don’t see this as a very big issue as Jewel probably attracts a different shopper mix than CMT.
One of the questions with quite a lively discussion was over Jcube and management’s plans for the property. It has been years since I last visited Jcube, but I presume it is because of the property’s comparatively below average occupancy rates.
Management is generally open to all options with regards to that particular property.
- Organically, the property may benefit from the bus interchange that is currently being constructed next to JCube. More homes are being built and Jurong Lake District will drive human traffic, if not land values
- If a compelling offer is made, CMT will consider selling.
- Redevelopment may be an option as Jurong Lake District evolves.
Growth Related Concerns
There were some questions related to acquisitions and future growth, which I will summarise under this section.
Management is currently does not seem to be inclined to expand overseas as overseas conditions can be tough. Some institutional investors in CMT like it due to its stability and SGD exposure, something that will be jeopardised if they expand overseas.
They also made a good point that Malls, unlike other assets like Offices or Industrial properties, require a lot more support to be successful. This means that having single malls in single locations are not very cost effective as you cannot benefit from economies of scale. As such, when choosing an overseas location to expand, it has be a substantial resource commitment.
Portfolio Fund Deals
I personally asked if deals like the one that Frasers Centrepoint Trust did for PGIM AsiaRetail Trust was something they were willing to explore. Management seemed amused by my question (calling it “very interesting”) but did not rule it out outright.
Capitaland – Ascendas Singbridge Merger effects
My other question to management was about the potential merger implications of Capitaland and Ascendas Singbridge for CMT. Management agreed with me that it does not have a direct impact on CMT as Ascendas does not play in the retail space. They did make an interesting point that potentially they may have a larger say in the development of the Jurong Region due to the combined entities’ strong presence there.
Unit buybacks not a concern?
Readers will remember that I recently discussed the merits and problems with REIT unit buybacks. I believe the general consensus among retail investors is that they would prefer for the REIT to pay out the cash.
As such, I found it interesting that the Ordinary Resolution 4 about REIT unit buybacks carried with minimal opposition. It faced less opposition than the mandate to issue units (Ordinary Resolution 3)
This maybe an anomaly or maybe unitholders have become more sophisticated haha.
Becoming a better investor requires you to take charge of your own investing education. Attending AGM is a small part of your continuous investor education. Overall, a nice and easy AGM for me to kick off AGM season. I thank the board for teaching me a thing or 2 about their way of thinking. And the $20 Capitaland voucher ?
CMT FY2018 AGM Slides and Voting results
Other CMT related articles you may be interested in
CMT Acquisition of remaining interest in Westgate
If you missed my previous article
OUE Commercial REIT and OUE Hospitality Trust Merger