Upgrade to BUY; awaiting capital deployment
Almost got the Jurong Gateway site… A consortium, made up of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and United Engineers Limited, recently bid S$917m for a site beside Jurong East MRT station, and only 5.4% below the winning bid. This outcome was similar to a Bedok site auction in Sep 10. We think these strong tenders from SPH underline its desire to expand their retail landlord business. As of 2Q11, we estimate SPH to have a sizeable acquisition war-chest of S$1,265m, assuming a net gearing ceiling of 70%.
…but more GLS auctions to come. We think there are three sites in the 2H11 GLS supply that could be of interest to SPH. The commercial site beside Paya Lebar MRT, with a large GFA of 86,940 sqm, could have a significant retail component after setting aside the minimum office and hotel requirements. In addition, the commercial site beside Fernvale LRT could house a retail development with 26,400 sqm GFA – around the size of Clementi Mall. There is also a white site on the reserve list beside Novena MRT with potentially 19,400 sqm retail GFA after taking out the estimated minimum hotel requirement.
TripleOne and 313@Somerset potential targets? Market talk is that TripleOne Somerset is on the market for about S$1.2b ($2,132 psf NLA) and that 313@Somerset could be for sale as well. These may be interesting targets for SPH who could derive operational synergies between managing Paragon and any one of these assets, particularly 313@Somerset. Given the sizes of these assets, however, it is more likely for SPH to consider acquiring a stake or participating in a joint venture instead of acquiring these assets wholly.
Successful execution at Clementi Mall. Clementi Mall has opened for operations smoothly. The mall is fully leased with an average monthly rent of S$14 psf. Clementi Mall highlights SPH’s retail management capabilities in a suburban location and the market would likely view similar acquisitions favorably. We forecast annual revenue at around S$30m from Clementi Mall after 4Q11.
Upgrade to BUY on valuation. The current price of S$3.81 indicates an upside of 13.4% against our S$4.32 fair value. In addition, the downside is limited by an attractive dividend yield of 7.1%, which is underpinned by a core newspaper segment yielding solid recurrent cash. Look for accretive acquisitions to be positive catalysts in FY11-12. We are upgrading SPH to BUY with a fair value estimate of S$4.32.