OCBC maintains ‘Hold’ rating on First REIT amid leadership succession

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OCBC Investment Research has maintained its ‘Hold’ rating on Singapore-listed healthcare landlord, First REIT, amid a leadership succession plan that has seen Dr. Ronnie Tan relinquish his position as the CEO of its manager.

Dr.Tan has been at the helm of First REIT since May 2006 and under his stewardship, the REIT has grown its investment properties base from SGD618 million in 2011 to SGD1.3 billion as at end-2016.

First REIT’s DPU has also increased steadily, and with a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.9% from 7.01 Singapore cents in FY 2011 to 8.47 Singapore cents in FY 2016, according to data from OCBC.

Dr. Tan stepped down on 19 May 2017, and has a remaining stake of 12,118,765 units in the REIT, according to a filing with the Singapore Exchange.

Taking over the role as acting CEO and executive director of the REIT’s manager is Victor Tan, the current chief financial officer (CFO), who will assume both roles concurrently until a new CFO is appointed.

“Nevertheless, we expect this transition to be seamless, as Victor has been at First REIT since 2008 and has been overseeing the financial operations and financial risk management of [the REIT], said OCBC in an investment report on 25 May.

The bank, which has maintained a fair value estimate of SGD1.32 on the counter, also noted that it remains actively engaged with Tan since it began coverage on First REIT in 2011.

Units of First REIT are currently listed on the Singapore Exchange at SGD1.32.

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Ridzwan Rahmat has been analysing Singapore-listed REITs and business trusts, since 2008. For disclosure purposes, Ridzwan is currently vested in Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust, Mapletree Industrial REIT and Mapletree Logistics Trust.

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