The share class benchmark, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Europe Net TR Index (in GBP) rose 4.63% in June. Whilst the sector see-sawed in a 4% trading range, it leapt 4.4% in the last three days on the back of the EU summit. The announcement that the EFSF and ESM can recapitalise banks directly rather than through their respective sovereigns is a step towards breaking the toxic link between busted banks and their deeply indebted sovereigns. Importantly for debt market investors these, capital injections will not enjoy seniority over other bondholders. Whilst these and other measures announced after the summit are an important step in the right direction, they are not the solution and still require ratification from 17 nations.
However, it is clearly positive and for our sector, intricately tied to banks and other lenders, it is important. Interestingly, European property shares have outperformed general European Equities (as measured by Euro Stoxx 600) by 742bps year–to-date.
We firmly believe investors are beginning to appreciate the robustness of earnings, the quality of assets and the strengthened balance sheets of UK and European property companies.
French, UK and Italian stocks were the best performers in June with the latter responding to the news around the summit. The French stocks were led higher by Unibail (8.6%) which announced an agreement to acquire an effective 46% in MFI, Germany’s 2nd largest shopping centre owner / manager with an owned portfolio of €1.5bn. We think this is an interesting off-market transaction which offers an existing platform in the one European market in which they were under represented. Unibail remains our largest investment (14.9% of NAV). Tour Eiffel, a small office owner/ developer is worthy of a mention. The stock rose 16% on the back of a successful sale of non-core medical centre assets followed by a successful refinancing of a €120m credit line. Another example of a listed property company concluding a debt restructuring – which market detractors claim is the sector’s largest issue.
Within the portfolio our long positions in the UK, France and Italy aided performance whilst our underweight to Switzerland also helped as all four listed Swiss stocks underperformed the index.
Both share classes will go ‘ex div’ on 4th July and pay on 1st August. Together with the interim dividend the Ordinary share class will have paid 6.60p for the yearto-March 2012. A dividend yield of over 4.5%.
The AGM will be held at the RAC on 24th July at 12 noon.