Analysis of Far East Hospitality Trust

By The Boy Who Procrastinates - November 17, 2018


October was a rough ride for global stock markets as they were slammed by a wave of fears about trade wars and higher interest rate. Amidst the chaos, there is always buying opportunities in a sell-off. 

have initiated a small position in Far East Hospitality Trust at $0.595 in Oct. At this entry price, it is trading at 31.27% discount to its NAV/unit of $0.8657. Based on the 2017 DPU of 3.90 cents, this translates to a distribution yield of 6.55%.  


Profile of Far East Hospitality Trust

Listed on SGX since Aug 2012, Far East Hospitality Trust ("FEHT") is a Singapore-focused hotel and service residence hospitality trust. Its portfolio of 13 properties consists of 9 hotels and 4 serviced apartments.

Hotels
✻ Mid-Tier
  • Village Hotel Albert Court
  • Village Hotel Changi
  • The Elizabeth Hotel
  • Village Hotel Bugis
✻ Mid-Tier / Upscale
  • Oasia Hotel Novena
  • Orchard Rendezvous Hotel (Formerly Orchard Parade Hotel)
✻ Upscale
  • The Quincy Hotel
  • Rendezvous Hotel Singapore
  • Oasia Hotel Downtown
Serviced Residences
✻ Mid-Tier
  • Village Residence Clarke Quay
  • Village Residence Hougang
  • Village Residence Robertson Quay
✻ Upscale
  • Regency House
With the exception of Village Residence Hougang and Village Hotel Changi, the remaining hotels and residences are located within the central district of Singapore. 

The latest addition to the portfolio is Oasia Hotel Downtown which was acquired from the sponsor on 2 April 2018. The acquisition was 88.96% funded by debt, 10.31% by DRP proceeds and 0.73% by equity. 

Interesting Fact: The Singapore Tourism Board has developed the hotel tiering system to categorise the hotels in Singapore based on a combination of factors such as average room rates and location. The 4 tiers in descending order of luxuriousness are as follows: 
  • Luxury: Predominantly in prime locations and/or in historical buildings
  • Upscale: Generally in prime locations or hotels with boutique positioning in prime or distinctive locations
  • Mid-Tier: Primarily located in prime commercial zone or immediately outlying areas
  • Economy: Generally located in outlying areas


Breakdown of Gross Revenue

Source: FEHT 3Q 2018 Results Presentation

FEHT earns its gross revenue from 3 different categories, with the majority derived from the hotel segment (70.2%), followed by commercial (18.2%) and serviced residences (11.6%). Other than hospitality, FEHT has a total of 286 units of retail, office and serviced office commercial space housed in 9 of the properties. 

Source: FEHT 2017 Annual Report (Exclude information for Oasia Hotel Downtown)

If we were to break down the gross revenue by assets, the Orchard Rendezvous Hotel appears to be the prized property, accounting for 19.56% of the gross revenue in 2017.  



DPU and NPI Performance

Source: FEHT Annual Reports

If we were to look back at the track record of FEHT, it is anything but stellar. The NPI has been on a declining trend since 2013 which has mainly been attributed to heightened competition from an oversupplied hospitality market. 

2018 has seen gradual recovery with the NPI for 2018 YTD at 9.1% higher than that of 9M 2017. The contribution from the newly acquired Oasia Hotel Downtown has also helped to provide a boost to its 2018 report card. 


Source: FEHT Annual Reports

The DPU history for FEHT has also presented similar downtrend over the years. Likewise, there is sign of improvement this year with the DPU for 2018 YTD at 2.4% higher than that of 9M 2017. It is not a significant upswing but at least the slump did not persist.

Based on the 3Q 2018 Financial Results, I am sanguine about FEHT performing better this year. 

Source: FEHT 3Q 2018 Results Presentation

The performance of hotels in FEHT portfolio has been promising, with an increment in the occupancy, ADR and an improvement of 5.8% in RevPAR over 2017 YTD. 


Source: FEHT 3Q 2018 Results Presentation

On the contrary, the performance of serviced residences in FEHT portfolio has been disheartening, with a 1.2% slide in RevPAR over 2017 YTD. 



Gearing

As of 30 Sept 2018, FEHT has a gearing ratio of 40.4%. The recent 5% increment in gearing ratio in 2Q 2018 is partly due to debt financing (88.96%) of the acquisition of Oasia Hotel Downtown. Benchmarking against the 45% leverage limit set by MAS for REITs, this restricts the financial flexibility of FEHT and its debt headroom for any future acquisition. 


Source: FEHT 3Q 2018 Results Presentation

In the near term, $100m term loan has been secured and the debt maturity will be extended to 2022 and 2025. This brings the weighted average debt maturity to 3.1 years.  

From the debt maturity profile, the outstanding debt of FEHT is mostly evenly spread out over the next 7 years, with the bulk of it (21.92%) due in 2021.


Source: FEHT 3Q 2018 Results Presentation

The interest rate exposure on its borrowing is 54.3% hedged by derivative financial instruments such as interest rate swap contracts. Personally, I feel that the proportionately low fixed rate hedging component can be a cause for concern, especially in a rising interest rate environment. 



Reversion to Mean

Plotted using R Studio (Click to enlarge)

Based on the historical data since 2012, the average share price of FEHT is at $0.764 as represented by the blue line in the chart. 

Since the mid of 2015, the share price of FEHT has remained bounded within one standard deviation below the mean. According to the chart, the entry price of $0.595 is beyond one standard deviation and 22.12% below the mean. 



Comparison with other Hospitality REITs


When set side by side with its hospitality / serviced residence peers, FEHT offers the greatest discount to its NAV/unit at 0.69. 

Even though the average cost of debt for FEHT is only 0.23% higher than the average of the hospitality REITs, every 0.1% increment in the cost of debt would make a significant difference, especially with FEHT's high gearing ratio, coupled with low proportion of hedging. This may put FEHT at a disadvantage.

I would consider OUE Hospitality Trust to be the closest hospitality peer to FEHT primarily due to their Singapore-focused hotel sites. Despite its higher than average gearing ratio, OUE H Trust has 71% of its debt fixed via interest rate swaps and able to secure a lower cost of debt. Comparatively, it offers a lower margin to its NAV/unit as compared to that of FEHT. 



Positive Events

  • Orchard Rendezvous Hotel has recently completed its refurbishment and rebranding in Sept 2018, joining the Rendezvous brand in Singapore. Located at the end of the glitzy shopping district of Orchard Road, I am optimistic that the newly refurbished hotel would provide a positive boost to FEHT's performance. 
  • The landmark summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June, Bloomberg New Economy Forum in November and the showcasing of the Republic as the outlandishly opulent setting of Hollywood hit film, Crazy Rich Asians (mahjong scene, anyone?) in August, are some of the high-profile events this year that put the little red dot into the global spotlight.
    Just this week, Singapore has hosted the 33rd Asean summit which brought together leaders of the 10 Asean countries, along with heavyweight guests including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and United States Vice-President Mike Pence. 
    I am positive that the rich vein of PR opportunities for Singapore will help to boost the tourism and hospitality sector in this city state. 
  • In 2014, FEHT took a 30% stake in a joint venture with its sponsor, Far East Organization for hotel development on Sentosa. The project comprises of three hotels - Village Hotel, The Outpost Hotel and The Barracks Hotel. The Outpost Hotel and Village Hotel are set to open in April 2019 and will target the mid-tier segment which is underserved in Sentosa. The Barracks Hotel will open in August 2019 and will be highly exclusive with only 40 rooms available. 
  • Based on the statistics from Singapore Tourism Board, the number of visitors to Singapore has been on the rise over the years. Visitor arrivals in Singapore has increased 7.7% year-on-year in the first half of 2018. Based on the information from STB, the top 5 markets for tourist arrivals in 2017 are China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Australia.
    The recovery of the hospitality sector in Singapore is likely to be underpinned by growing demand for accommodation from continued strong tourist arrivals and controlled supply of hotel rooms. 
    Source: FEHT 3Q 2018 Results Presentation

Key Concerns

    As of now, the minimum rental periods for private homes and public housing in Singapore are 3 and 6 consecutive months respectively. As such, the current rental market would cater to a separate demography of Airbnb's guests from hotel patrons, who seek to stay in Singapore for mid to longer period. Though short-term accommodation in private and public homes is currently not legal in Singapore, I think the implementation of a regulatory framework for short-term letting is imaginable in the future. 


Conclusion

At my entry price of $0.595, it would be a 31.27% margin of safety to its NAV/unit. The combination of controlled hotel supply and strong tourist arrivals should bode well for the local hospitality industry. Additionally, the hotel development in Sentosa remains an exciting prospect for the following year.  

When things go south and FEHT has to liquidate its assets, I suppose there is a considerable margin for me to fall back on. 


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Disclaimer: All information in this post is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are purely that of the author's and should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, a recommendation for any security or as professional financial investment advice. 

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2 comments

  1. Thanks.
    This is a very solid review of the company.

    I have this too and am looking at that discount to nav and a rebound in the tourism sector to push up the price but looks like it'll be quiet for a while. The revpar for the sg hotels have not really picked up in last quarter, I guess have to further give it a monitor.

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    Replies
    1. Hello B!

      Yes, it is the steep discount to NAV and the recovery in the local hospitality industry that attracts me at first. Hopefully the controlled hotel supply and strong tourist arrivals will provide a boost to the revpar of sg hotels in the next few years to come.

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