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Second Chance Properties Ltd.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

In reply to a comment from Desmond: here.

Some have said that Second Chance Properties Ltd is a company that is REIT like. This perception could be due to the fact that much of its success stems from its timely investments in real estate at depressed prices.

They announced an annual dividend of 3.3c and a special dividend of 0.5c this year. NAV/share is 35.72c. So, buying some shares closer to the NAV/share would give an attractive dividend yield, discounting the special dividend. At the last closing price of 40c/share, a 3.3c dividend would be a nice 8.25% dividend yield if the payout should be repeated next year. Seems like a decent proposition.

However, I would draw attention to its earnings per share (EPS) which has declined year on year. For 12 months ended June 2011, EPS was 7.2c. For the 14 months ended August 2012, EPS was 5.62c. 2 more months of earnings and EPS was actually 22% lower? Has its earnings declined? Although not comparable, for want of any available alternative, its net profit actually improved 1.37% for the period reported.

So, it could only mean that the number of shares in issue has increased significantly. As the founding family of the company has 81% of its shares and routinely accept dividends in scrip plus the fact that there are many outstanding warrants (expiring in 2013 and 2017), further dilution of EPS is to be expected, all else remaining equal.

Valuation of a company's shares could be based on many things. However, let us look at P/E ratio which is used more during good times compared to NAV/share. At its highest in June 2011, it was 39c/share and with an EPS of 7.2c then, its P/E ratio was 5.42x. Share price went to a high of 45c as punters chased its shares after the dividend announcement. With EPS at 5.62c, its P/E ratio was 8x then.

Now, closing at 40c/share in the last session, using the EPS of 5.62c, its P/E ratio is 7.12x. With a P/E ratio of 8x or lower, shares of Second Chance Properties Ltd. do not seem expensive. Why does Mr. Market not ascribe a higher value to the company then? Ah, good question.

They always say that the market is forward looking. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that Mr. Market is concerned about the potential dilution to the EPS of the company which could, of course, lower dividend payout per share in future. With an increasing number of shares in issue, it is also hard to expect greater upside in share price as valuation per share finds little improvement.

Would I buy shares of Second Chance Properties Ltd.? I would, as usual, question my motivation for thinking about investing in a stock. Am I after income or growth? As an investment for income, with the company's track record, it is likely that they would continue to pay dividends. However, unlike S-REITs, there is less certainty. Also, with declining EPS, it is possible that dividend per share could reduce in future.

As an investment for growth, we have to be prepared for some headwind as real estate prices have very likely peaked. With more supply coming on stream, rental rates and property values could face downward pressure in the coming years. This coupled with economic malaise that is expected in the near future could also see retail businesses affected negatively.

All in all, I would say that Second Chance Properties Ltd. is in a position of strength and should be able to weather the economic malaise ahead.

If we are able to accept the potential dilution of EPS and its possible effect on dividend payout per share, and if we are not overly concerned about the probable lack of meaningful appreciation in future share price, this seems like a good company to invest in.

See financial report: here.

Related posts:
1. Don't be a yield pig. Be a hardy pig.
2. Be cautious as we accept higher risks.
3. Good debt is always good?
4. Mr Market is always right.
5. Never lose money in real estate and REITs?

4 comments:

Desmond said...

Hi AK,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this counter and in the process help me clarify my own thinking about this company.

While I am impressed with the Company's past performances, I share the same concern about the Company's future given possible dilution of earning/dividends. I also have doubt about the sustainability of it's earning given it's heavy reliance on the revaluation gain (from it's properties) to boost the bottom line.

Many thanks and Merry Christmas!


Desmond

AK71 said...

Hi Desmond,

You are right to be concerned about the revaluation gains being a big part of the company's profit since property values could easily go the other way in a downturn in the property cycle.

There will be time to ponder over this. For now, Merry Christmas! :)

Lee said...

Hi,

Thanks for this great article. I'm sharing the same concern with regard to EPS. However with scrip the company will be able to retain cash for future in tent. If property show signs of weakness next year we can expect the company to grab more properties to their portfolio. My 1c

AK71 said...

Hi Lee,

I wonder if that will be the case since expenses including remuneration are quite high.

Revenue and gross profit were up more than 30% but there was no meaningful increase in net profit. Shareholders might do well to temper their optimism here.

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