Mapletree Logistics Trust AGM 2023 Brief

20 July 1:45 pm

Back to MBC in less than 24 hours later.

How come it feels like I am going to work?

The good thing is that I am early today and so I can park for free!

AGM hasn’t started but I already feel good about it.

Before I share what I took away from the AGM, here are some links for you.

As per usual, I am not doing a verbatim but sharing my thoughts based on what I experienced.

Unassuming and Confident Leaders

Unlike yesterday where the board came in together, CEO was the first to arrive at the venue, about 15 minutes before the start was was joined by CFO shortly after that. The rest of the board came in about 3 minutes before the start.

Interestingly, she was the only one not in black.

Photo courtesy of Jun Yuan, The Singaporean Investor. You can read his coverage of the AGM here. He provides a lot more details than me!

Also unlike yesterday session, MLT’s Chairman was more involved. He answered quite a number of questions and also directed the questions to CEO, CFO, and Audit and Risk Committee Chairman.

Based on what they shared and replied to the various questions, my sense is that they are unassuming and confident. Also, CEO exudes confidence when speaking and I think she is a very driven person.

Resilience through Diversification

Amid the headwind of currency exchange and interest rate, MLT is one of the few REITs that handled out higher DPU last year. Its large geographically diversified portfolio has allowed it to be flexible in executing various strategies such as asset acquisition, AEI and selective divestments to sustain its DPU.

There were some questions on the various countries and the following is what I remembered.


Despite the US-China tension and the slower than expected recovery after China’s re-opening from the pandemic, the management continues to view China as an important market. Chairman said that amid the tension, there are reports that trade between the two countries has increased. They are comfortable with the current allocation, especially when most leases are for domestic market.

CEO added further about the importance of China to the Asia Pacific and they are learning to grow with China. She also believes that the MLT portfolio is able to negate the volatility from China.

In the exchange after AGM, CEO and senior management also shared that businesses are a lot more cautious now. Unlike the past where tenants would easily commit to long term lease, now they (especially in the second tier cities) typically will just go for a one year lease before extending later only if they can sustain the business.

Hong Kong

On why Hong Kong’s revenue does not align proportionally to the amount of asset, Chairman shared that Hong Kong’s properties are expensive. However, that also mean they might get quicker capital return. They also shared that Hong Kong is the only currency that has strengthened against Singapore dollars for the past year.

India and Indonesia

Chairman shared that they are interested in India but do not want to run ahead of the actual business activities. They will continue to track the development.

He also shared that they have been looking at Indonesia for many years. However, as MLT focuses on Grade A properties, they need to have other facilities of similar standard which is currently not there yet. But Indonesia is definitely on the top of their list.

Meeting Challenges with Flexibility

Near term, high interest rate and strong Singapore dollar will continue to be a challenge for MLT. However, with active management such as divesting lower cap rate properties and buying higher cap rate ones, distribution should remain stable. CEO shared that they are looking at divesting about $1 billion of properties.

I think she briefly mentioned that few REITs are so active in rejuvenating their portfolio. I remembered years ago when I just started investing in MLT, I gave up tracking the organic growth of their DPU as there were always addition distributions from divestment. So I decided that this is one of their strategies and they can do it because they have so many properties.

In the exchange after AGM, a few other points were shared. On the ground, things are fluid, so they need to be flexible. For example, given the current uncertainty in China, they look for acquisition in other markets. But that view might change later if the situation brightens up for China.

They also shared that even for Singapore properties, things can change. For example they recently were able to get rental reversion of 8%, while 5 years ago they were only getting one plus percent.

I now have a better sense of management’s approach and am confident that barring any unforeseen circumstances, MLT should be able to sustain its performance. As I have just added some MLT on 7 July, I will just hold on to my current stake.

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