United Engineers - Centenarian with Prized Commercial Portfolio
- Established centennial Singapore company with key businesses which are subject to a potential take-over as major shareholders look to exit.
- Substantial portion of prized commercial portfolio are on either 999-year leasehold or freehold titles.
- Upside for acquirer comes from active leasing of empty space while more capex is needed to spruce up an ageing portfolio.
- A cleaner “real estate play” after a series of divestments of non-core assets in the last two years, with prized commercial portfolio. United Engineers is a diversified conglomerate with businesses in real estate, engineering and distribution.
- Since 2014, the group has looked to focus on its hospitality and real estate divisions and started to divest its noncore assets since 2014 in a bid to streamline its businesses.
Potential take-over prospects as major shareholders look to sell out.
- Major shareholders, OCBC, Great Eastern and affiliates, have announced a potential sale of their combined stake of c.32% of the stock and according to media reports, received bids by different consortiums for their stake, which include the likes of Ascendas-Singbridge, Perennial Real Estate, among others.
- Given the heighted interest in the firm, we believe that an offer could turn exuberant. A sale could spark a general offer, based on SGX listing rules.
- The jewels of the portfolio are well-positioned assets – UE Bizhub City (UE Square), One North mixed development, as well as UE Bizhub West which are strategically located at the fringe of the Central Business District (CBD) or in key suburban commercial districts.
- Our target price of S$2.89 is based on 1.0x P/NAV, based on historical transactions for developer’s acquisition. Our revalued NAV (RNAV) for UE at S$3.30/share is at a 20% premium to NAV of S$2.75/share.
- The stock is currently trading c.6% below our price target of S$2.89.
What is in it for acquirers.
- Apart from acquiring a commercial portfolio that sits on substantially FH/999-LH land and upside to earnings through active leasing of empty spaces, we believe that more capital expenditure is needed to spruce up the portfolio in order to remain relevant to tenant needs. This could point to higher values in the medium term.
- Lacklustre sales and lease for the China projects, Chengdu Orchard Villa and Shenyang Orchard Summer Palace.
Return *: 2
Potential Target 12-mth* : S$ 2.89 (-2% downside)