ESR-REIT Cuts DPU By 50% In 1QFY20 – Dividend Yield Still High But What is The Risk?

ESR-REIT Cuts DPU By 50% In 1QFY20 - Dividend Yield Still High But What is The Risk?

If you didn’t know, ESR-REIT used to be known as Cambridge Industrial Trust. In 2018, ESR-REIT merged with Viva Industrial Trust. I used to own Cambridge Industrial Trust but divest it back in 2016.

ESR-REIT released their 1QFY20 financial results on 23rd April 2020. While I though industrial REITs are not so badly impacted by COVID-19, ESR-REIT has retained S$7.0 million as part of prudent cash flow management.

In 1QFY20, Gross Revenue fell 10.9% to S$57.8 million. Net Property Income (“NPI”) fell 15.6% to S$41.0 million. According to what was shared by the manager, the lower Gross Revenue and Net Property Income was mainly due to the lease conversion from single to multi tenancy for five properties where ESR-REIT now has to bear the costs of land rent, property tax and maintenance fees that tenants used to pay under a master lease arrangement, non-renewals and downsizing of certain tenants and rental rebates set aside as part of ESR-REIT’s measures to support tenants whose businesses were adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Distributable amount before the capital retention fell 23.5% to S$24.5 million. Distribution Per Unit (“DPU”) fell 50.3% to 0.50 cents declared for 1QFY20.

1QFY20 Financial Results

Gross Revenue57.864.8(10.9)%
Net Property Income41.048.6(15.6)%
Distributable Amount (Before Capital Retention)24.532.0(23.5)%
Distributable Amount 17.532.0(45.2)%
Distribution Per Unit (“DPU”) (cents)0.501.007(50.3)%


Occupancy stood at 90.5%. While this is above JTC’s average of 89.2%, I personally felt the occupancy is low. The risk here is the single tenancy. I understand ESR-REIT is trying to convert them into multi-tenancy.

ESR-REIT Cuts DPU By 50% In 1QFY20 - Dividend Yield Still High But What is The Risk?


Gearing ratio stood at 41.7%. I consider this high under normal circumstances (without COVID-19) bearing in mind that the limit is 45%. However, the threshold has been increased to 50% by the government in view of current COVID-19 situation.

The good news is ESR-REIT has no refinancing requirements until 2021 and their portfolio remain 100% unencumbered.

ESR-REIT Cuts DPU By 50% In 1QFY20 - Dividend Yield Still High But What is The Risk?

Current Dividend Yield

Based on 4.011 cents paid out in FY19 and the current share price of S$0.32, this translate to a current dividend yield of 12.53%.

If I assume ESR-REIT pay out 0.50 cents for the subsequent quarters, this will translate to an estimated dividend yield of 6.25%.

ESR-REIT Cuts DPU By 50% In 1QFY20 - Dividend Yield Still High But What is The Risk?


The dividend yield for ESR-REIT is high no matter it is before or after the COVID-19 pandemic. This reminds me of another REIT I used to own which is Soilbuild REIT. You can read more on the lessons learnt. Similarly, Soilbuild Business REIT has offered a high dividend yield but there are risks involved. (Read more: SoilBuild REIT High Yield Provided Investors Can Stomach the Risks)

Summary of October 2016 Transactions


If you have been following my blog posts, you will know that I have made 3 sell transactions this month. I have sold off Sheng Siong, Cambridge Industrial Trust and MobileOne Limited (M1). My investment thoughts have slightly change a bit this month and I shall share with you why this is so.

Previously, I have been accumulating stocks which means I have always been buying but not selling. Most of the stocks that I have accumulate are either REITS or business trust because that is where the accretive dividend yield is. One of the thing I missed out doing is housekeeping. When more and more stocks get added to my stock portfolio, I find it hard to manage. Certain stocks in my portfolio has under performed but I am not aware. Thus, this month, I decided to do some housekeeping and also reduce the number of stocks in my portfolio. The ideal number of stocks is around 20. Read More

Goodbye Cambridge Industrial Trust

Cambridge Industrial Trust Logo

I have sold off Cambridge Industrial Trust. Including the dividends collected over the years, the total gain is around 60%.

Below are my reasons for selling off Cambridge Industrial Trust.

Tidying Up My Stock Portfolio

I bought Cambridge Industrial Trust many years back when I started investing in stocks. As more stocks get added to my stock portfolio, the percentage in terms of value of Cambridge Industrial Trust becomes smaller and very much insignificant in my stock portfolio. Currently, it makes up only 1 percent of my stock portfolio. My ideal stock portfolio should consist of less than 20 stocks. Selling off the minority makes it easier to manage in the long run. Read More