Analysts share mixed views on Sime Property land purchase


KUALA LUMPUR: Analysts are of mixed minds over Sime Darby Property Bhd's recent acquisition of agriculture land from Sime Darby Bhd in Malaysia Vision Valley (MVV) in Labu, Negeri Sembilan.

The property group announced in a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday that it had exercised a call option agreement by acquiring 760.12 acres of freehold land in the area for RM280mil in what is considered a related-party transaction.

In a note, Maybank Investment Bank Research said it was negatively surprised by the purchase as the land is unlikely to contribute to Sime Darby Property's earnings significantly over the short term while the group still has sizeable undeveloped landbank in the area.

The research firm noted that Sime Darby had received an offer from a third party to buy 1,181 acres of land at the MVV area for RM381.6mil, which could have pressured Sime Darby Property into making the purchase.

"In compliance with the terms of the COAs, SIME has offered the entire offered plot at same price to SDPR.

"In response, SDPR has decided to acquire 656 acres from the offered plot and an additional 104 acres which falls outside of the offered plot," it said.

Maybank IB lowered its FY21-23 earnings forecasts by 0.6%-7.6% to factor in the land purchase. Its target price remained unchanged at 69 sen.

As Sime Property's share price has run-up recently, it downgraded the stock to "sell".

However, Kenanga Research was mildly positive over the transaction as it considers the purchase price of RM8.46 psf a bargain.

Comparing previous land transactions in the area by Ajinomoto at RM42 psf in 2018 and Matrix at RM10 psf in 2014, the brokerage said the purchase consideration was relatively low.

"Also, should the land be developed into an industrial park, assuming a GDV/acre of RM5m, the entire plot could fetch a GDV of c.RM3.8b – suggesting a low land cost/GDV ratio of 7.3%," it said.

It added that post-acquisition, net gearing will remain healthy at 0.33 time from 0.3 time as of 2QFY21.

Kenanga maintained "market perform" on the stock as it raised its target price to 73.5 sen, premised on Sime Property's better earnings visibility versus its peers.

It said its vast landbanks in matured townships allow it to focus on landed/industrial products and be less affected by the high-rise oversupply issue.
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