Custodian Property Income REIT — Positive income indicators in a challenging market

Custodian Property Income REIT (LSE: CREI)

Last close As at 19/04/2024

GBP0.77

0.20 (0.26%)

Market capitalisation

GBP340m

More on this equity

Research: Real Estate

Custodian Property Income REIT — Positive income indicators in a challenging market

In Q323, Custodian Property Income REIT (CREI) continued to capture occupational demand, lease vacant space across all sectors and grow rental income. This underpins fully covered dividends and provided a partial offset to strong market-wide pressure on property valuations. Moderate gearing mitigated the impact on NAV, while income is protected by 80% of drawn debt having a fixed cost.

Martyn King

Written by

Martyn King

Director, Financials

Custodian-REIT_resized

Real Estate

Custodian REIT

Positive income indicators in a challenging market

Q323 update

Real estate

23 February 2023

Price

91.2p

Market cap

£402m

Net debt (£m) at 31 December 2022

166.1

Net LTV at 31 December 2022

27.1%

Shares in issue

440.9m

Free float

91.8%

Code

CREI

Primary exchange

LSE

Secondary exchange

N/A

Share price performance

%

1m

3m

12m

Abs

(2.4)

(2.7)

(8.8)

Rel (local)

(4.0)

(7.9)

(12.0)

52-week high/low

110p

83p

Business description

Custodian Property Income REIT is a London Main Market-listed REIT focused on smaller lot-size (<£15m) commercial properties across the UK regions outside London. It is income focused, with a commitment to pay a high but sustainable and covered dividend, with the potential for capital growth.

Next events

FY23 year-end

31 March 2023

Analyst

Martyn King

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Custodian Property Income REIT is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

In Q323, Custodian Property Income REIT (CREI) continued to capture occupational demand, lease vacant space across all sectors and grow rental income. This underpins fully covered dividends and provided a partial offset to strong market-wide pressure on property valuations. Moderate gearing mitigated the impact on NAV, while income is protected by 80% of drawn debt having a fixed cost.

Year end

Net rental
income (£m)

EPRA
earnings* (£m)

EPRA
EPS* (p)

NAV**/
share (p)

DPS
(p)

P/NAV**
(x)

Yield
(%)

03/21

33.1

23.7

5.6

97.6

5.00

0.93

5.5

03/22

35.6

25.3

5.9

119.7

5.25

0.76

5.8

03/23e

37.9

25.2

5.7

98.5

5.50

0.93

6.0

03/24e

39.3

26.1

5.9

98.9

5.60

0.92

6.1

Note: *EPRA earnings exclude revaluation gains/losses and other exceptional items. **Defined as EPRA net tangible assets per share (EPRA NTA).

Letting progress has continued

Custodian has paid/declared 4.1p of DPS in FY23 to date, 1.02x covered by EPRA earnings, leaving the company on track to meet its annual DPS target of at least 5.5p. Driven by acquisitions and asset management, EPRA earnings increased 7% during Q323 to 1.5p. New lettings, which have continued into Q423, are a positive indicator for income development, as is like-for-like growth in estimated rental value (ERV) and rent roll and an increase in EPRA occupancy. This all had a positive impact on property valuations, mitigating the negative effects of yield widening. As a result, the 9.1% like-for-like decline in Custodian’s property portfolio valuations compares favourably with MSCI data that indicates a market-wide decline in capital values of almost 13%. NAV per share declined to 99.8p, or by c 12%. The market-wide decline in property valuations slowed in the December quarter, which is consistent with our unchanged estimates, which assume some further Q423 weakness and flat in FY24.

Income at the core of strategy

CREI’s prime strategy for delivering returns is the generation of attractive and stable dividend returns from an actively managed, well-diversified portfolio of UK commercial real estate. Within this, it is differentiated by a principal focus on properties with smaller individual values (‘lot sizes’) of less than £15m at the point of investment. These typically provide a yield premium over larger assets, recently widened, partly the result of a broader range of potential occupiers, while attracting less competition from larger institutional investors. The average annual NAV total returns since the company listed in 2014 is 5.0%, with unbroken dividend payments accounting for 97% of this.

Valuation: Consistent income returns

The minimum 5.50p DPS targeted by CREI for FY23 represents an attractive yield of a 6.0%, which we expect to be fully covered. The discount to NAV has closed to 7%, versus c 20% for close peers, but is still below the average 3% premium since its initial public offering and appears to anticipate further asset price weakening.

Strong capital growth with increasing income

Positive income developments

The 1.4% growth in like-for-like rent roll in Q322 reflected positive leasing events, which, together with the 0.6% increase in ERV, provides evidence of the depth of the occupational market for space in high-quality, well-located and affordable assets. Together with the opportunity to continue vacancy reduction, these are positive indicators for future income development.

During Q323, 10 new lease agreements were signed across a range of property sectors at an aggregate 7% ahead of ERV, adding £1.2m of annual rent for a weighted average of 7.3 years to first break (Q223: five new leases adding £0.4m of annual rent for 6.3 years). There were two rent reviews settled in the period, generating an aggregate 18% increase on the previous rents, or £0.4m pa. Lettings progress has continued into Q423, with a further four new leases completed, adding £0.8m of annual rental income for a weighted average 12 years to first break.

EPRA occupancy improved to 89.9% (end-Q223: 89.3%), resulting from the letting of five vacant properties. 48% of current vacancy is subject to refurbishment or redevelopment, 8% was let post end-Q323 and a further 8% has been put under offer for sale or lease.

Consistent dividend return

NAV total return for the first three quarters of FY23 was negative 13.2%, with capital losses more than offsetting the 3.4% return from fully covered dividends.

Exhibit 1: NAV total return year to date

Jun-22

Sep-22

Dec-22

Dec-22

Q123

Q223

Q323

9M23

Opening NAV per share (p)

119.7

122.2

113.7

119.7

Closing NAV per share (p)

122.2

113.7

99.8

99.8

DPS paid (p)

1.4

1.4

1.4

4.1

Capital return

2.1%

-7.0%

-12.2%

-16.6%

Income return

1.1%

1.1%

1.2%

3.4%

NAV total return

3.2%

-5.8%

-11.0%

-13.2%

Source: Custodian Property Income REIT

Since listing in 2015, dividend returns have been consistently positive, even throughout the pandemic, generating 97% of the aggregate total return of 5.0% pa. This reflects Custodian’s income focus, supported by its strategy of investing in higher yielding, smaller lot properties.

Exhibit 2: Long-term accounting total return

Pence per share unless stated otherwise

Mar-15

2015

Mar-16

2016

Mar-17

2017

Mar-18

2018

Mar-19

2019

Mar-20

2020

Mar-21

2021

Mar-22

2022

Dec-22

Q323

March 2014 to Dec 2022

Opening NAV per share

98.2

101.3

101.5

103.8

107.3

107.1

101.6

97.6

119.7

98.2

Closing NAV per share

101.3

101.5

103.8

107.3

107.1

101.6

97.6

119.7

99.8

99.8

Dividends paid per share

3.750

6.350

6.350

6.425

6.525

6.625

4.913

5.625

4.125

50.7

Dividend return

3.8%

6.3%

6.3%

6.2%

6.1%

6.2%

4.8%

5.8%

3.4%

51.6%

Capital return

3.2%

0.2%

2.2%

3.4%

-0.2%

-5.2%

-4.0%

22.7%

-16.6%

1.6%

NAV total return

7.0%

6.4%

8.5%

9.6%

5.9%

1.0%

0.9%

28.4%

-13.2%

53.2%

Average annual return

5.0%

Source: Custodian Property Income REIT data, Edison Investment Research

Income is less volatile than capital values

Current market conditions demonstrate the cyclicality of the commercial property market, a feature of which is the relative stability of income return versus the volatility of property valuations and capital returns.

Exhibit 3: The relative stability of income return versus the volatility of capital return

Source: Custodian Property Income REIT data, Edison Investment Research

Negative property revaluation movements, commencing in Q223 and accelerating in Q323 and directionally following market-wide trends, have been a negative 19.2 pence per share, comprising 22.9p of general valuation movement, partly offset by gains on asset management initiatives (primarily lease renewals, new lets and lease regears), and gains on disposal of 1.1p.

Exhibit 4: NAV movement year to date

Jun-22

Sep-22

Dec-22

Dec-22

Pence per share

Q123

Q223

Q323

9M2023

Opening NAV

119.7

122.2

113.7

119.7

Valuation movements relating to:

– Asset management

1.6

0.3

0.7

2.6

– General valuation movements

1.0

(9.2)

(14.7)

(22.9)

– Profit on disposal

0.3

0.8

0.0

1.1

Net valuation movements

2.9

(8.1)

(14.0)

(19.2)

Asset acquisition costs

(0.4)

(0.4)

0.0

(0.8)

EPRA earnings

1.4

1.4

1.5

4.3

Dividends paid

(1.4)

(1.4)

(1.4)

(4.2)

Closing NAV

122.2

113.7

99.8

99.8

Source: Custodian Property Income REIT

Property valuation yields have been sharply adjusting

After a long period of rising property values, interrupted for a time during the pandemic, the trend has very sharply reversed. This is due to a combination of rising bond yields, economic and political uncertainty, a sharp reduction in investment demand for UK commercial property, and eager selling by some open-ended funds and even insurance companies this has spectacularly reversed. This is despite many areas of the market continuing to report robust levels of occupier demand and increasing rents.

While property values are declining across the market, there has been a tendency for sectors where yields had been lowest to adjust more than average. Mirroring this trend, Custodian’s industrial/logistics assets have seen the largest pull back in valuations after exceptionally strong past growth, despite continuing firm occupier demand, constrained supply and rising rents. High street retail, where Custodian has focused on prime locations, has been the strongest performer, despite the obvious pressures on consumer disposable incomes and continuing modest declines in rents. In such an environment, the benefits of a diversified investment approach are clear.

Custodian’s Q323 like-for-like decline in portfolio valuations of 9.1% followed a Q223 decline of 5.4%, a six-month like-for-like decline of 15.3%. This reflected an increase in the blended net initial portfolio yield from 5.5% at end-Q123 to 5.9% at end-Q2 and 6.5% at end-Q3.

Exhibit 5: Q323 valuation movements by sector

NIY*
(%)

End-valuation
(£m)

Weighting
(%)

Valuation movement (£m)

Valuation movement (%)

Industrial

5.5

291.6

47.6

(36.0)

11

Retail warehouse

7.1

135.0

22.0

(11.5)

8

Other**

6.9

74.3

12.1

(4.6)

6

Office

7.2

73.9

12.1

(7.1)

9

High street retail

9.7

38.0

6.2

(2.3)

6

Portfolio total

6.5

612.8

100.0

(61.5)

9.1

Source: Custodian Property Income REIT. Note: *Net initial yield or passing rent divided by property valuation plus purchasers’ costs. **Other comprises drive-through restaurants, car showrooms, trade counters, gymnasiums, restaurants and leisure units.

Money market interest rate expectations remain volatile and have recently moved in the direction of higher for longer, but 10-year government gilt yields have been moving in a lower, tighter range (c 3.6% currently) since peaking at c 4.5% last autumn. Alongside this, MSCI data indicate that the occupier market remains robust, with estimated rental values continuing to increase (1.6% in the industrial sector in the three months to December and 0.3% in offices). It may be that yield widening is in the process of stabilising.


Exhibit 6: Financial summary

Year end 31 March, £m

2020

2021

2022

2023e

2024e

PROFIT & LOSS

Gross rental income

40.0

38.7

39.0

41.9

43.4

Non-recoverable property costs

(1.9)

(5.6)

(3.4)

(4.0)

(4.1)

Net rental income

 

38.1

33.1

35.6

37.9

39.3

Administrative expenses

(4.8)

(4.6)

(5.5)

(6.2)

(5.8)

Operating Profit before revaluations

 

33.4

28.5

30.1

31.7

33.5

Revaluation of investment properties

(25.9)

(19.6)

94.0

(95.0)

0.0

Costs of acquisitions

(0.6)

(0.7)

(2.3)

(3.4)

0.0

Profit/(loss) on disposal

(0.1)

0.4

5.4

4.6

0.0

Operating Profit

6.8

8.6

127.2

(62.1)

33.5

Net Interest

(4.7)

(4.8)

(4.8)

(6.5)

(7.4)

Profit Before Tax

 

2.1

3.7

122.3

(68.6)

26.1

Taxation

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Profit After Tax

2.1

3.7

122.3

(68.6)

26.1

Net revaluation of investment property/costs of acquisition

26.4

20.3

(91.7)

98.5

0.0

Gains/(losses) on disposal

0.1

(0.4)

(5.4)

(4.6)

0.0

EPRA earnings

28.7

23.7

25.3

25.2

26.1

Average Number of Shares Outstanding (m)

409.7

420.1

428.7

440.9

440.9

IFRS EPS (p)

 

0.5

0.9

28.5

(15.6)

5.9

EPRA EPS (p)

 

7.0

5.6

5.9

5.7

5.9

Dividend per share (p)

 

6.65

5.00

5.25

5.50

5.60

Dividend cover (x)*

1.04

1.13

1.10

1.04

1.06

Ongoing charges ratio (excluding property expenses)

1.12%

1.12%

1.20%

1.26%

1.28%

NAV total return

1.1%

0.9%

28.4%

-13.1%

6.0%

BALANCE SHEET

Fixed Assets

 

559.8

551.9

665.2

622.2

633.0

Investment properties

559.8

551.9

665.2

622.2

633.0

Other non-current assets

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Current Assets

 

30.7

9.9

16.8

12.4

8.6

Debtors

5.3

6.0

5.2

7.8

7.8

Cash

25.4

3.9

11.6

4.6

0.7

Current Liabilities

 

(14.9)

(12.8)

(39.9)

(17.8)

(17.9)

Creditors/Deferred income

(14.9)

(12.8)

(17.2)

(17.8)

(17.9)

Short term borrowings

0.0

0.0

(22.7)

0.0

0.0

Non-current Liabilities

 

(148.9)

(139.2)

(114.5)

(182.6)

(188.0)

Long term borrowings

(148.3)

(138.6)

(113.9)

(182.0)

(187.4)

Other long term liabilities

(0.6)

(0.6)

(0.6)

(0.6)

(0.6)

Net Assets

 

426.8

409.9

527.6

434.3

435.8

NAV/share (p)

101.6

97.6

119.7

98.5

98.9

EPRA NTA/share (p)

101.6

97.6

119.7

98.5

98.9

NAV total return

1.1%

0.9%

28.4%

-13.1%

6.0%

CASH FLOW

Operating Cash Flow

 

31.0

23.8

32.6

28.9

32.7

Net Interest

(4.4)

(4.5)

(4.5)

(6.1)

(7.0)

Tax

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Net additions to investment property

(12.2)

(10.1)

26.6

(50.1)

(10.0)

Ordinary dividends paid

(27.0)

(20.6)

(24.2)

(24.7)

(24.6)

Debt drawn/(repaid)

10.5

(10.1)

(25.1)

45.0

5.0

Proceeds from shares issued (net of costs)

25.0

0.0

0.5

0.0

0.0

Other cash flow from financing activities

0.0

0.0

1.7

0.0

0.0

Net Cash Flow

22.9

(21.5)

7.7

(7.0)

(3.9)

Opening cash

2.5

25.4

3.9

11.6

4.6

Closing cash

 

25.4

3.9

11.6

4.6

0.7

Debt as per balance sheet

(148.3)

(138.6)

(136.6)

(182.0)

(187.4)

Unamortised loan arrangement fees

(1.7)

(1.4)

(1.2)

(0.8)

(0.4)

Total debt

(150.0)

(140.0)

(137.8)

(182.8)

(187.8)

Restricted cash

(0.9)

(1.2)

(1.1)

(1.4)

(1.4)

Closing net debt

 

(125.5)

(137.3)

(127.3)

(179.5)

(188.4)

Net LTV

22.4%

24.9%

19.1%

28.9%

29.8%

Source: Custodian Property Income REIT historical data, Edison Investment Research forecasts

General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by Custodian Property Income REIT and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Custodian Property Income REIT. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

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General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by Custodian Property Income REIT and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Custodian Property Income REIT. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison’s policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

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Frankfurt +49 (0)69 78 8076 960

Schumannstrasse 34b

60325 Frankfurt

Germany

London +44 (0)20 3077 5700

280 High Holborn

London, WC1V 7EE

United Kingdom

New York +1 646 653 7026

1185 Avenue of the Americas

3rd Floor, New York, NY 10036

United States of America

Sydney +61 (0)2 8249 8342

Level 4, Office 1205

95 Pitt Street, Sydney

NSW 2000, Australia

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Research: Healthcare

Ultimovacs — Gathering steam with multiple inflections in FY23

Ultimovacs’ Q422 and FY22 results reflected another busy period marked by continued development of its lead cancer vaccine, UV1, across multiple indications. Top-line results from the Phase II clinical trials INITIUM (in metastatic malignant melanoma) and NIPU (in metastatic pleural mesothelioma) are expected in H123 and are key catalysts for a potential licensing deal, should data be positive. Another clinical milestone will be the readout from the Phase I TENDU trial (prostate cancer), expected in H223. However, data readouts for the other Phase II trials have been adjusted due to the delayed initiation of DOVACC, change in standard of care for LUNGVAC and a minor delay in FOCUS (end FY23 to H124). We roll forward our model and adjust our estimates, resulting in a valuation of NOK7.4bn or NOK216/share (NOK7.9bn or NOK231/share previously). Our estimates do not include consideration for preclinical assets, which may offer upside on successful clinical progress. The end-FY22 cash position stood at NOK425.3m, which should provide funding to mid-2024, according to management.

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