|Dasin Retail Trust was listed on the SGX three years ago. The CEO of its trustee-manager is Ms Wang Qiu (photo), who was appointed to the post in March 2020.
She is the third CEO in three years. The rapid turnover may raise concerns among investors but she says her predecessors left for personal reasons and there were no issues within the organisation that led to their departure.
Ms Wang herself signaled that she is here to stay for the long haul to do her best for the Trust.
She is entirely familiar with the Trust, having served as team leader of the IPO working group for three years.
In fact, she knows the Dasin Holdings Group as her only employer in her 29-year working career.
In several senior posts -- such as Secretary to the Board of Directors and, concurrently, General Manager of Risk Management division -- she came into constant contact with the Chairman, Zhang Zhencheng, and the board of directors.
1. Dasin Retail Trust has been listed since 2017. What would you say are some of the business highlights in that period?
DRT started off with 3 retail properties in the portfolio with an aggregate value of approximately RMB4.6 billion and grew to a total of 5 assets with an aggregate value of about RMB9.5 billion as of 31 March 2020. In September 2019, DRT achieved a major corporate milestone with the Trust’s maiden acquisition, Doumen Metro Mall in Zhuhai City, since our listing on SGX-ST in 2017. Following the successful acquisition of Doumen Metro Mall, we announced the proposed acquisition of Shunde and Tanbei Metro Malls in November 2019 which was approved by unitholders at the EGM in December 2019.
Since IPO in 2017, DRT has expanded its assets under management from RMB4.6 billion to RMB12.1 billion including the proposed acquisition by actively implementing investment growth strategies. If the proposed acquisitions are included, the valuation of the portfolio will expand by nearly three times within three years from listing.
2. How has the Trust's 5 malls performed through the COVID-19 period?
From 26 January 2020. Dasin Retail Trust’s five retail malls shortened operating hours from 10:00 to 16:00 with the exception of the provision of essential services such as supermarkets and certain F&B outlets etc. but cinemas, KTVs, ice skating rings, bookstores and other crowded places were temporarily closed.
Shiqi Metro Mall, Xiaolan Metro Mall, Dasin E-Colour and Doumen Metro Mall resumed normal operating hours since 24 February 2020, while Ocean Metro Mall reverted to its normal operating hours on 2 March 2020. Thus, revenue decreased by about 21% yoy in 1Q2020.
During COVID-19 period, the property manager organized live streaming and interacted with shoppers at the malls to drive tenants’ sales through live streaming app “Dasin Hui” (大信荟） with more than 540,000 members.
From March to May 2020, DRT hosted more than 100 live broadcasts hosted by influencers to promote a plethora of tenants’ items sold at the malls.
With the initiatives taken, the monthly turnover rent has gradually recovered from February to May.
Turnover rent in May 2020 was about 89.2% of average monthly turnover rent in 4Q2019 as compared to February 2020 which was about only 36.1% of average monthly turnover rent in 4Q2019. We believe that the positive trend will continue and full recovery is expected.
3. As e-commerce becomes more prevalent, how do you see the retail business of the 5 malls faring?
While we acknowledge the rising trend of e-commerce, our malls are positioned to serve the densely populated catchment area and seek to be a one-stop centre fulfilling the demands of the community in terms of their daily necessities needs, dining, entertainment, education and shopping.
Through proactive asset and lease management, the trust introduced more experiential trades (e.g. leisure, sports, entertainment, dining and training) and defensive retail businesses (e.g. supermarkets, home appliances and other daily necessities) to its assets. For example, since the second half of 2019, we reconfigured the traditional home furnishing space at Ocean Metro Mall into a children’s education area that are in line with current consumption trends, and achieved a positive rental reversion of about 48% for the reconfigured space. Apart from improving shoppers’ traffic, the enhanced tenant mix also brought greater resistance to the impact of e-commerce. As of 31 March 2020, experiential and defensive retail mix accounted for approximately 60% of the trust’s total NLA. Therefore, we believe that the impact of e-commerce on the trust’s assets is manageable.
通过主动的租户管理策略，信托物业引入了较多的体验型业态（如休闲、运动、娱乐、餐饮、培训等线下体验业态），比如，我们从2019年下半年开始，对远洋店传统家居业态进行改造升级，引进了符合时下消费趋势的儿童教育类业态，改造后租金水平提升约48%，同时依托现有的防御型业态，如超市等。这两类业态不仅能为商场带来消费人流，同时对电商造成的冲击抵御能力也更强。截至2020年3月31日，信托物业中以上两种业态合计占出租面积约为60 % 。因此，我们相信信托资产受线上消费的影响是较可控的。
In recent years e-commerce companies have been actively expanding their offline platforms. Taking Alibaba as an example, since Ma Yun introduced the concept of new retail in 2016, the company has expanded its offline platforms by investing in Yiguo, Suning, Sanjiang shopping, Lianhua Supermarket, Yintai, Sunart Retail and formed strategic partnership with the Bailian Group. As at end-2017, Alibaba's investments in offline retailing reached 73.5 billion yuan. At the same time, Tencent partnered with retail giants such as Yonghui Superstores, Carrefour and Wal-Mart to digitalise and introduce smart retail to areas including retail experience, payment innovation, marketing and membership etc. In addition to the active integration of online and offline resources, technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and unmanned supermarkets have also brought new growth potential to the retail industry.
In addition, we have also developed our own member management system, “Dasin Hui” (大信荟）, a platform that provides comprehensive information on the products and services in the malls, to ensure that the customers can have a convenient and preferential shopping experience. We aim to draw customers from online channels to physical stores while being the shopping mall operator of choice among tenants. We have also identified brands which are more suitable for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar respectively during the COVID-19 pandemic. This would help us in better targeting and pivoting the tenant mix for our malls.
此外，我们也推出了自己的会员管理系统 - “大信荟”，为消费者提供最便捷优惠的购物体验。在疫情期间，我们对于一些租户品牌和业务有了更深一步的了解，哪些品牌更适合电子商务或实体商务。这将有助于我们更好地选择和调整我们商场的租户组合。
By adopting such a business strategy, the management aims to draw customers from online channels to physical stores while being the shopping mall operator of choice among tenants.
4. Shareholders have been receiving dividends which are higher than otherwise because of an agreed waiver by the Sponsor of part of its entitlement for 5 years ending 2021. Can you explain how the waiver works and the rationale?
The Sponsor is of the view that there is a lot of embedded value in the current valuations of the properties which are currently not realised as two of the properties (Dasin E-Colour and Ocean Metro Mall) are relatively new and require time to mature and stabilise. Their rental income will not have reached a level in line with those of more mature or stabilised properties.
As an expression of confidence in the long-term income growth of DRT, each of Aqua Wealth and Bounty Way will waive a portion of their entitlement to distribution from DRT for the benefit of other Unitholders to ensure that investors in DRT will receive a distribution yield more commensurate with market-level rents immediately when they invest in DRT, without having to wait for Ocean Metro Mall and Dasin E-Colour to stabilise. The Trustee-Manager will distributethe total amount of the waived distribution to the Unitholders. For the avoidance of doubt, such waived distribution will also be distributed to each of Aqua Wealth and Bounty Way in relation to their Units that are not subject to the Distribution Waiver in any particular year.
为了表达对大信长期收入增长的信心，Aqua Wealth和Bounty Way放弃其部分的股息分配，以使其他单位持有人受益，以确保大信的投资者能立即获得与市场水平的租金相应的收益率，而不必等待大信新都汇远洋店和大信溢彩荟成熟运营后。信托管理公司将豁免分配的总额分配给单位持有人。有关豁免的分配也将分配给Aqua Wealth和Bounty Way不参与分配豁免的单位。
As the rental levels for the portfolio is expected to increase to a level that is comparable to the market rate over time, the percentages and number of Units held by Aqua Wealth and Bounty Way which will not be entitled to distributions will decrease over time.
由于投资组合的租金预计将随时间增长到市场水平，因此Aqua Wealth 和 Bounty Way参与分配豁免的单位的百分比和数量将随之而减少。
|5. Cumulatively, in absolute dollars, how much has the Sponsor given up through the waiver?
Approximately S$55.1m from 2017 to 2019.
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