With the combined complementary strengths of both ARA and LOGOS and underpinned by a defensive portfolio, ALOG is well-positioned to leverage on the enlarged scale and expanded capabilities of the Group to further explore opportunities to maximise value for our Unitholders.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Manager of ALOG, we are pleased to present ALOG's Annual Report for the financial year ended 31 December 2020 ("FY2020").
TRANSFORMATIONAL YEAR FOR ALOG
On 5 March 2020, ALOG entered into a transformational growth journey through ARA's acquisition of a majority stake in LOGOS, a leading logistics real estate developer and specialist in AsiaPacific ("APAC"). LOGOS now operates as ARA Group's exclusive platform for logistics assets as well as ALOG's Sponsor. As part of the transaction, while ARA's holdings in the Manager and ALOG were transferred to LOGOS, ARA will continue to retain control of the Manager via LOGOS. Cache Logistics Trust was also subsequently rebranded to ARA LOGOS Logistics Trust or ALOG for short, signifying strong commitment from both ARA and LOGOS to grow ALOG over the long term.
This pivotal development not only strengthens ALOG's existing platform, but also broadens ALOG's potential for value-creation opportunities and long-term sustainable growth. ALOG also benefits from a wide range of opportunities, given LOGOS' expansive network and management expertise, which accentuates confidence in the Manager's capabilities and quality of ALOG's portfolio.
With the combined complementary strengths of both ARA Group and LOGOS and underpinned by a defensive portfolio, ALOG is wellpositioned to leverage on the enlarged scale and expanded capabilities of the Group to further explore opportunities to maximise value for our Unitholders.
Following this transformational development, ALOG swiftly executed its Portfolio Rebalancing and Growth Strategy, announcing its maiden acquisition of an Australia portfolio from its Sponsor within six months from rebranding. The acquisition comprises of five high-quality and prime logistics properties in Brisbane, and fund investments of 49.5% interest in the New LAIVS Fund and 40.0% interest in the OP Fund1. The fund investments also comprise five modern prime logistics properties located in key economic hubs across Sydney and Melbourne. Most importantly, this portfolio is backed by strong real estate fundamentals such as modern specifications, long WALE and is also underpinned by good quality tenants. To fund this acquisition, we have successfully launched an Equity Fund Raising of approximately S$100 million, involving a Private Placement and Preferential Offering, which was oversubscribed and saw strong support from both long-term and new investors, signalling confidence in our longterm strategic goals. In addition, to demonstrate its long-term commitment to support ALOG's growth strategy, LOGOS also participated in the Equity Fund Raising, including providing a full back-stop for the entire Preferential Offering.
With this maiden acquisition, ALOG will deepen our strategic presence in Australia, a key logistics market which continues to be driven by strong growth in e-commerce and demand for cold storage facilities. With this proposed portfolio acquisition from our Sponsor, LOGOS has also demonstrated its commitment to grow ALOG and enhance Unitholder's returns in the long term.
STAYING FOCUSED AND DELIVERING A RESILIENT PERFORMANCE
The COVID-19 outbreak brought significant challenges to economies globally. The logistics sector, however, has continued to remain resilient, underpinned by factors such as strong growth in e-commerce and robust demand for cold storage facilities. Despite a challenging year, ALOG's defensive portfolio has remained resilient and delivered a 3.4% and 4.8% y-o-y growth to S$117.4 million and S$90.0 million for FY2020's Gross Revenue and Net Property Income ("NPI") respectively.
FY2020 DPU was 4.9% lower at 5.250 cents as compared to FY2019 on the back of one-off distributions in FY2019 and an enlarged unit base due to the Private Placement on 11 November 2020 and Preferential Offering on 25 January 2021 to fund the acquisition1. However, on a like-forlike basis, excluding capital and oneoff distributions, DPU would have been 8.8% higher y-o-y.
In the first quarter of FY2020, ALOG retained S$2.5 million of its distributable income, recognising the need for prudency due to the outlook uncertainty from the COVID-19 outbreak and to address potential rental deferment and/ or waivers required to support a handful of tenants through the challenging period. Underpinned by a resilient portfolio and after prudent consideration, ALOG had distributed the entire S$2.5 million retained distributable income back to its Unitholders as at endDecember 2020.
Throughout FY2020, ALOG's portfolio continued to see minimal disruptions and the Manager had also passed on rental reliefs from the Singapore Government's Resilience Budget to our tenants. We continued to work closely with our tenants during the year and have also extended our assistance in the form of rental deferment and lease restructuring to help support a handful of tenants through the challenging period.
Despite the uncertainties of the challenging global macroeconomic landscape, this solid performance has continued to demonstrate the strength and defensiveness of ALOG's portfolio, which is well-positioned for growth over the long-term.
ROBUST PORTFOLIO PERFORMANCE UNDERPINNED BY QUALITY PORTFOLIO
Spreading across Singapore and Australia, ALOG's portfolio of 27 quality properties has continued to provide income stability through a diversified tenant mix and geographical diversification. Successfully executing our proactive leasing and asset management strategy, ALOG has closed the year with a high committed portfolio occupancy rate of 98.5% and WALE by net lettable area ("NLA") of 2.8 years.
Approximately 2.6 million sq ft of renewals and new leases were inked during the year, with an average positive rental reversion of 4.8%. In addition, we have also successfully renewed a longterm lease with Schenker Singapore for the entire building at 51 Alps Avenue. As part of our proactive lease and asset management strategy, we will continue our efforts to secure forward commitments so as to maintain high occupancy across the portfolio.
In FY2020, ALOG's investment property value also saw a 2.0% increase y-o-y to S$1.28 billion from S$1.26 billion in FY2019.
PRUDENT CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
As at 31 December 2020, ALOG's aggregate leverage ratio stood at 39.0%, with a well-balanced debt maturity profile of 3.1 years. ALOG's all-in financing cost was also lower at 3.22% as compared to 3.84% as at 31 December 2019. This is on the back of lower floating rates, recurring savings following the completion of a A$140.0 million term loan refinancing in February 2020 as well as lower Revolving Credit Facility drawn as compared to FY2019. On foreign exchange exposure, approximately 88.8% of ALOG's distributable income is either derived in Singapore dollars or hedged to reduce foreign currency risk. ALOG's balance sheet remains resilient and well-positioned to meet any financial obligations as and when they fall due.
We will continue to prudently manage and enhance ALOG's financial flexibility by diversifying our funding sources, lengthening of debt maturity and secure funding at competitive rates when the opportunity arises.
As the world actively puts measures in place, such as additional fiscal policy supports to drive a recovery in local and global markets, the International Monetary Fund ("IMF") projected a global economic growth of 5.5% in 2021 and 4.2% in 2022; a strongerthan-expected recovery on average across regions in the second half of 2020. The forecasted growth for 2021 was also revised higher by 0.3%, reflecting additional policy support in some large economies and expectations of a vaccine-powered strengthening of activity later within the year, which outweigh the slowdown on near-term momentum due to the rising infections1.
In Singapore, the economy in 2020 contracted by 5.4%, a reversal from the 1.3% growth in 2019. This was mainly due to a contraction experienced in the construction and services producing sectors2. Singapore's Purchasing Managers' Index ("PMI") also rose to 50.7 in January 2021, up 0.2 points from December 2020 and was also the highest since March 20193. February's PMI came in at 50.5, however, easing 0.2 points from January, according to the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM)4.
The cash rate in Australia continues to remain low at 0.10% and is not expected to increase until actual inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3% target range. Australia's economic recovery is however well under way and has been stronger than expected. It also saw a stronger employment growth rate, which translated into a lower unemployment rate of 6.4%. This recovery will likely continue, with expectations on Gross Domestic Product ("GDP") to grow by 3½ per cent over both 2021 and 2022. GDP is also now expected to return to its end-2019 level by the middle of 20215.
Despite the uncertainties faced from the COVID-19 outbreak, the logistics market in APAC continues to remain a bright spot in the medium to long term. According to CBRE Research, the Asia Pacific's logistics market will continue to thrive in 2021 on the back of rising domestic consumption and a recovery in global trade. The IMF also expects global trade volume to grow by 8.3% y-o-y in 2021, as compared to a contraction of 10.4% y-o-y in 2020. E-commerce will continue to be a strong driver for logistics leasing demand in 2021 as the COVID-19 outbreak accelerates the shift to omnichannel retailing. Pandemicinduced supply chain disruption has also forced many businesses to reassess and strengthen its supply chain resilience by diversifying sourcing and production6.
Underpinned by a defensive and highquality portfolio, ALOG has continued to deliver a strong performance despite a challenging year. We remain confident that these attributes will continue to position ALOG well to leverage on the robust logistics sector. In addition, with the strong support from ALOG's Sponsor, LOGOS, we will continue to work towards strengthening ALOG's fundamentals to generate sustainable, long-term returns for our Unitholders.
ONGOING SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS
We are pleased to announce that we are a recipient of the Frost & Sullivan's "2020 Singapore Corporate Renewable Energy Company of the Year" award. This award has been noteworthy especially in our efforts to integrate sustainability in our business and deliver long-term value to our Unitholders. We will continue to uphold our commitment to drive sustainable long-term growth for ALOG and conduct our business in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Meanwhile, more details on ALOG's sustainability will be available in the sustainability report which will be published online during the year.
On behalf of the Board and the management team, we wish to thank Mr Daniel Cerf, who retired as CEO of the Manager in August 2020 for his invaluable contributions to ALOG since its listing in April 2010. Mr Cerf has helped strengthened the key fundamentals of the REIT and built a strong management team, positioning the REIT well for its next stage of growth. We wish him the very best in his future endeavours.
In this year 2021, as part of the board's renewal process, Mr Chia Nam Toon, Non-Executive Director of the Manager, has retired from the Board. Ms Low Poh Choo, Senior Director of ARA Financial Pte. Ltd., the corporate finance advisory arm of the ARA Group, was appointed as Non-Executive Director of the Board to replace Mr Chia. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we wish to express our sincere appreciation to Mr Chia for his guidance and support throughout his tenure. We would also like to welcome Ms Low and look forward to working closely with her to bring ALOG to greater heights.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the Board of Directors for their wise counsel and guidance. We would also like to thank the management team, for their continued unwavering dedication, enthusiasm and hard work over the past year. To our customers, the investment community at large as well as our business associates, thank you for your continued confidence, support and friendship.
To our Unitholders, we remain grateful to you for your continued support for ALOG over the years. Your trust and confidence are important to the Board and the Manager. ALOG is now well-positioned to continue its transformational journey. With the Sponsor's support and a strong management team in place, we will continue to work hard and deliver sustainable value to our Unitholders.
Lim How Teck
Chief Executive Officer
- IMF, World Economic Outlook Update, January 2021.
- Ministry of Trade and Industry ("MTI"), Press Release, "MTI Maintains 2021 GDP Growth Forecast at "4.0 to 6.0 Per Cent", 15 February 2021.
- The Business Times, Singapore PMI continues its rise in January to 50.7, 3 February 2021.
- The Business Times, Singapore PMI eases in February but manufacturing sentiment remains positive, 2 March 2021.
- RBA, Statement on Monetary Policy, 2 March 2021.
- CBRE Research, Asia Pacific Real Estate Market Outlook 2021.