Fitch Assigns SHREIT Expected National Rating of #BBB(tha)(EXP)#

Stocks and Financial Services Press Releases Monday July 2, 2018 17:01
Bangkok--2 Jul--Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings (Thailand) Limited has assigned Strategic Hospitality Extendable Freehold and Leasehold Real Estate Investment Trust (SHREIT) an expected National Long-Term Rating of 'BBB(tha)(EXP)'. The final rating is subject to the completion of the company's planned asset acquisitions. The failure to complete the acquisitions may result in a final rating that is multiple-notches below the expected rating.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

Small and Concentrated Portfolio: Fitch believes SHREIT's small asset scale constrains its expected rating, even after considering its plan to acquire five hotels with total investment of about THB8 billion within 3Q18. SHREIT has investment properties worth THB4.3 billion, consisting of a hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia and two hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The Jakarta hotel is the largest asset, contributing about 75% of total revenue. The planned acquisitions will add one hotel each in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, and two in Cambodia, which will lower the contribution from the largest asset to about 30%.

Less-Volatile Occupancy: SHREIT's existing hotels have moderate volatility in occupancy rates as corporate customers comprise 40%-50% of the total. About 40% of the Jakarta hotel's customers are domestic guests, who are less influenced by country-specific risks such as terrorism compared with foreigners. Its Jakarta hotel had an occupancy rate of 75%-80% over the past two years while the average occupancy rate of its Jakarta peers was less than 60%. Its four-star Ho Chi Minh City hotels target a 50:50 ratio of long- (length of stay of more than 30 days) and short-stay customers. The high proportion of long-stay guests helps to lower the occupancy-rate fluctuation.

SHREIT's occupancy rate will remain relatively stable after its planned acquisitions, although it would fall to 71%-73% from above 75% for the existing portfolio. About 60% of the revenue from the new assets will likely come from the hotels in Indonesia and Vietnam that have stable occupancy rates. However, we expect the two five-star luxury hotels in Cambodia to have a more volatile and lower occupancy rate than the rest of the enlarged portfolio.

Good Locations: SHREIT's existing hotels have no direct competitors and benefit from major attractions in their catchment areas. Its hotel in Jakarta, the only five-star internationally branded hotel in the west of the city, is part of a 22-hectare mixed-use project with the largest shopping mall in the area. The hotel is also equipped with the second-largest ballroom in Jakarta. Its two hotels in Ho Chi Minh City are also the only two internationally branded hotels that are adjacent to the largest and only international standard exhibition and convention centre in the city. Its new hotels are also similarly located to avoid competition from international-branded hotels or to capture growing demand.

Moderate Financial Leverage: Fitch expects SHREIT's net debt to investment-property value (LTV) to stay at 30%-35% over the next one to two years, in line with the trust's financial policy to maintain gross debt to total assets at 30%-35%.

Moderate FX Risk: We believe SHREIT's large foreign-exchange (FX) exposure can cause volatility in its financial profile. SHREIT's assets are offshore and generate local-currency revenue. On the other hand, the REIT's loans are in US dollars and its dividend payments are in Thai baht. The FX risk is partially mitigated by adjustments in room rates from time to time to offset the exchange-rate fluctuations between the US dollar and local currencies. The REIT manager has entered into an FX forward contract for its dividend payments but only for one year.

DERIVATION SUMMARY

The comparisons are based on SHREIT's profile after the acquisitions. SHREIT is the only hospitality REIT in Thailand that has all its assets located offshore. SHREIT's portfolio size and EBITDA are significantly smaller than those of TICON Freehold and Leasehold Real Estate Investment Trust (TREIT, A(tha)/Stable), the largest industrial REIT in Thailand. SHREIT also has lower earnings visibility, given the nature of the hospitality sector, than TREIT, which has medium- to long-term contracts with its tenants. SHREIT and TREIT have a similar range of financial leverage with LTV at 30%-35%. These factors justify rating TREIT higher than SHREIT.

SHREIT is likely to have a slightly larger portfolio and generate higher EBITDA within the next six months compared with Siam Future Development Public Company Limited (SF, BBB(tha)/Stable), a leading community-mall developer in Thailand. However, SHREIT's asset concentration is slightly higher and it has a smaller number of assets. SHREIT's properties are nevertheless located in four countries while almost all of SF's assets are concentrated in Bangkok and its suburbs. SF has higher earnings visibility than SHREIT from medium- to long-term contracts with its tenants. SF's development exposure over the next two years is likely to drive its LTV to 35%-40% while SHREIT does not have such exposure. Therefore, SHREIT is rated at the same level as SF due to their comparable business and financial profiles.

KEY ASSUMPTIONS
Fitch's Key Assumptions Within Our Rating Case for the Issuer
  • Investment of THB8 billion in new properties in 3Q18 with about 35% debt financing, according to SHREIT's plan
  • Revenue to increase to about THB1 billion a year in 2019-2020 with full-year contribution from new assets
  • EBITDA margin to increase to 93%-94% in 2019-2020 due to economies of scale
  • No new investment, new development or significant maintenance capex in 2019-2020
RATING SENSITIVITIES
Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to Positive Rating Action
Fitch does not expect a positive rating action until SHREIT achieves a stronger business profile in term of size and asset composition without a deterioration in financial profile.
Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to Negative Rating Action
  • Failure to complete asset acquisition plan of about THB8 billion in 2018;
  • Aggressive debt-funded investment leading to net debt to investment properties of over 35%;
  • Two-year consecutive significant decline in revenue due to a weakening competitive position and/or cost efficiency of the hotels in its asset portfolio;
  • EBITDA to interest expense at below 3.8x on a sustained basis.
LIQUIDITY

Manageable Liquidity: SHREIT's liquidity over the next two to three years is manageable as an existing loan of USD47.5 million has a three-year grace period on principal repayment and low principal instalments in the first few years. SHREIT plans to refinance the existing loan with three- to five-year bonds in 2018. SHREIT's refinancing risk over the long term is likely to be mitigated by its larger cash inflow from an enlarged portfolio as well as its ability to access capital markets. At end-March 2018, SHREIT also had an undrawn committed facility of THB36 million.


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