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Edited Transcript of FABG.ST earnings conference call or presentation 24-Apr-18 9:00am GMT

Q1 2018 Fabege AB Earnings Call

Solna Sep 13, 2018 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Fabege AB earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 9:00:00am GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Åsa Bergström

Fabege AB (publ) - VP, CFO & Company Secretary

* Christian Hermelin

Fabege AB (publ) - President & CEO

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Hello, and welcome to the Fabege AB Q1 Report 2018. Today, I'm pleased to present CEO, Christian Hermelin; and CFO, Åsa Bergström. (Operator Instructions) I will now hand you over to Christian. Please begin.

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Christian Hermelin, Fabege AB (publ) - President & CEO [2]

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Welcome to Fabege's presentation of the first quarter report of 2018.

After the upward development in our property market in recent years, many people are wondering whether these trends will continue. Our strong earnings figures for the first quarter clearly shows that we still have a very robust property market in Stockholm, and almost all our key indicators have improved.

I am very pleased with the fact that we continue to have extraordinary profitability in our project business, with a profit contribution of more than SEK 1 billion. While we're also reducing the financial risks, our loan-to-value ratio, for example, is now 41%. Overall, our consistently strong result for the quarter has created excellent value growth.

Our long-term net asset value, EPRA NAV, which usually governs our share price performance, increased from SEK 201 to SEK 220 per share during the quarter. It really can be this good when the market is in great shape, and my colleagues also do a fantastic job.

And now, I will hand over to Åsa who will go through the result in more details.

Please turn page.

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Åsa Bergström, Fabege AB (publ) - VP, CFO & Company Secretary [3]

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Yes. All key ratios have continued to improve alongside the strong earnings performance. The positive trend is continuing, with rising rental income, improved earnings from Property Management, consistent value growth and strengthened key ratios.

Rental income amounted to SEK 614 million, an increase of 12% compared to the previous year. In an identical portfolio, income increased by just over 13%, around half of which refer to project occupancy and half to growth by our renegotiations and new lettings at higher levels.

The surplus ratio was 72%. We achieved our target for Q1 despite the winter weather conditions during the quarter. Higher heating costs were offset by lower costs for other items. Our target for the full year 2018 is 74%.

The administrative costs remain at a consistent level. Interest expenses are lower than last year in absolute terms. Overall, we are borrowing more, but at a lower average cost. The average interest expense at the end of the quarter was 2.27%.

Earnings in associated companies totaled minus SEK 21 million and relate to the capital contributions to Arenabolaget during the period. We believe the costs are a little front-loaded and that the forecast of up to SEK 40 million annually still stands. We, therefore, reported earnings from Property Management of a total of SEK 274 million, which is an increase of more than 25% compared with the previous year.

The realized changes in value in Q1 amounted to SEK 83 million and relates to an additional consideration paid out regarding a transaction that was concluded in 2010.

During the first quarter, we signed an agreement on the sale of Uarda 6 in Arenastaden. At the beginning of April, we also signed an agreement on the sale of Resedan on Odengatan in Stockholm. Those transactions were concluded at low yield levels, and compared with the year-end valuations, this generated a total profit of SEK 132 million.

Hence, due to new IFRS rules, the properties must remain on the balance sheet until the transfer of ownership, and the profit was recognized as an unrealized change in value. The unrealized change in value was attributable to the property transactions, also appears in our segment reporting.

Just over 35% of the portfolio was externally valued in Q1. Transactions on the market, particularly our own sales, indicate a persistent decline in yield requirement. The changes in value amounted to SEK 2.7 billion, corresponding to roughly 4.6% value growth.

Values in the project portfolio rose by SEK 1.1 billion, producing a return on invested capital during the period of 178%. Q1 saw an upward revision of the value of Pyramiden 4 in connection with the project's completion.

Value in the investment property portfolio was driven almost equally by rent increases and lower yield requirements. The average yield in the portfolio is now 4.24% compared with 4.36% at the year-end. And deferred tax is estimated at 22% on current earnings. The Uarda 6 transaction involved a reversal of deferred tax of SEK 105 million.

Please turn to the next page. In February, we received an investment grade rating from Moody's. We've had a number of positive reactions from the -- to the rating and can already see that this has had a substantial positive price effect on our bonds and that we are reaching a broader investor base, and that leads up to financing on the next page.

We are seeing considerable interest in lending to Fabege from both banks and the capital market. We have continued to increase the proportion of green financing. Green financing is now available to us in all Swedish banks and on the capital market, both via SFS and through our own MTN programme.

We have continued to work on boosting our financial profile via longer fixed-term maturities and new fixed interest terms to gradually replace the old swaps that are due to expire during the year.

In the most recent refinancing round, we extended the fixed term maturity, which is now an average of 4.2 years. The fixed term maturity was extended in part in order to cut back slightly on the outstanding commercial paper and replace them with bonds. However, we will continue to use our commercial paper program as a source of financing and as a complement to other financing.

Capital Market financing has offered better terms than banks over the past year. We are now seeing a general improvement in margins, and we also have several examples of bank financing without STIBOR floor. One example of a refinancing discussion that we are currently having is with one of our banks who is now offering a 10-year facility on attractive terms.

This summer and in early autumn, we will see the expiry of several more older interest rate swaps at significantly higher levels than what we are currently able to subscribe to. A total of SEK 4.5 billion will expire in 2018. This deal means that we will have lower average interest in the second half of the year.

Unutilized facilities at the end of the quarter totaled SEK 3.1 billion. We are confident about both refinancing and the access to capital for continued investment.

And now please over to Page 6. To finish, just a few words about the new tax proposal. The proposal on new corporate taxation was presented in March. It feels like the Ministry of Finance has listened to much of the criticism that came out of the consultation period, and the proposal is now more consistent with the EU directive. It is an improvement from our perspective.

To summarize, it means that the tax rate will be reduced in 2 stages from 22%, down to 20.6% by 2021. It will also mean interest deductions will be limited to 30% of EBITDA.

For companies and groups that have carryforward losses, the deduction will be recalculated at the lower amount. However, it is positive that it is not entirely offset, but can still benefit from interest deductions when offsetting against carryforward losses.

For Fabege, it means that we will use our carryforward losses at a faster pace. Based on the 2018 budget, the proposal would mean an increase in deferred tax expense of roughly SEK 50 million. Tax paid will still be close to 0. All in all, it's extremely complicated even for the tax experts. From what I understand, there is a majority in favor of the proposal, and we expect it to enter into force from January 2019.

And now back to Christian.

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Christian Hermelin, Fabege AB (publ) - President & CEO [4]

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Thank you, Åsa.

And please turn page. And in our rental market, the good demand in combination with the low vacancy rate, mean that the strong increase in rents is continuing and continues to spread from the CBD. In our opinion, the biggest increase at the moment are in the rest of the city center and the top suburbs.

During the quarter, we achieved an average rental increase of 20% in our renegotiations. Net leasing was relatively weak for [Bingus,] and we expect the usual increase in activity during the second quarter.

Please turn page. The purple bars illustrate our strong rental growth during the past year. Here, we also see that the revenues growth has now temporarily halted due to the 2 phase we have made this year. But rental growth will continue as normal later in 2018 and into 2019 as a result of renegotiations and the fact that numerous projects have been completed and are beginning to generate revenue.

The result at the end of this 2-year period will probably be significantly better as a result of contributions from forthcoming renegotiations and leases of project vacancies.

Please turn page. Now let's take a look at the transaction market and yield requirement. We have divested 2 properties this year. We sold Uarda 6 in Arenastaden for SEK 1.2 billion, which is almost double the capital invested, another good example of our value creation motto. We continue to manage the property and take care of the customers.

The second property was a rather solitary one in our portfolio in Vasastan, a mixed low yield property. We have previously said that our ambition was to sell residential building rights and fund new projects. As it's currently at that time to sell residents building rights, we conducted these 2 sales instead.

Both the properties were sold for about 20% more than their estimated value at the start of this year. These, as well as other transactions in the market, have given support to the adjustment of values by valuators, which has contributed to the significant change in values during the quarter.

Despite these valuation increases, we are probably further than normal away from the market's willingness to pay, because of both the continued rise in rents and somewhat more unexpected compression of yield requirements regarding policy.

Please turn page. We have externally valuated 38% of the portfolio. By far, the largest part of the change in value, amounting to SEK 1.7 billion, comes from the property portfolio, where the valuators lowered the yield requirement. The valuators have also adjusted the yield requirement for some investment properties, which means that we have relatively equal contribution from rising rents and decreasing yield requirement, as you can see in the graph.

Please turn page. Let's now turn to our project portfolio, which is continuing to create value. The investments are continuing at the high rate and the leasing rate is a good 86% in our projects, despite the fully leased SEB property now being removed as it is taken into operation and a new empty commercial property is being added.

Please turn page. Here, you can see the conversion projects we decided to start during the quarter. We own a large neighboring property that we also plan to renovate later, and several existing customers from there will probably be moved over to it once it has been modernized.

With a strong demand in our rental markets, we expect to increase the leasing rate in our project portfolio and also start more projects this year.

Please turn page. I showed this picture in the last quarter regarding the 2018 financial prospects. We said that our investment result would increase, mainly due to rising rental income from completed projects and already completed renegotiation. The increase in the investment result was 27% in the first quarter.

We also said that we could get a major contribution from our project portfolio, with a high investment volume and a high profit margin. The profit margin amounted to no less than 178%. And even more importantly, the contribution to result from project was just over SEK 1.2 billion.

We also thought that we would have good value growth in the investment portfolio, mainly due to rising rents. We achieved a 20% increase in rent in our renegotiations. And overall, we saw the prospect of a strong result in 2018, with a pretax result just over SEK 3 billion and a long-term net asset value that grew from SEK 201 to SEK 220. We have to admit that we have, in fact, exceeded our expectation quite considerably.

Thank you. And now, Åsa and me are ready for questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions)

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Christian Hermelin, Fabege AB (publ) - President & CEO [2]

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Okay. If we don't have any questions, that was all from Åsa and me, and we thank all listeners. Thank you.