Hong Kong-listed ESR Cayman posts revenue rise, says e-commerce logistics property to grow thanks to pandemic

By Ryan Swift / https://www.scmp.com/property/hong-kong-china/article/3076430/hong-kong-listed-esr-cayman-posts-revenue-rise-says-e?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp&utm_content=3076430 | April 6, 2020 10:34 AM SGT
E-commerce will continue to grow in the Asia-Pacific region, accelerated by the Covid-19 outbreak, Hong Kong-listed logistics warehouses and industrial real-estate operator ESR Cayman said on Monday.
In its year-end earnings web conference, the company also reported a 40.6 per cent rise in revenue for 2019 to US$357 million. Its net profit climbed 20.8 per cent to US$245 million.
Jeffrey Perlman, ESR's chairman, said that Asia-Pacific logistics remained the largest property investment opportunity in the region, adding that its e-commerce tenants remained the bedrock of ESR's business, constituting about 60 per cent of its clients. He also said he did not expect a slowdown in business due to the spread of the virus to the European Union, the United States and other import-focused markets, as "99 per cent of our business is focused around domestic consumption".
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He cited reports that Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com expected a 10 per cent rise in revenue for first quarter of 2020, despite the impact of the coronavirus on China's economy. JD is ESR's largest tenant, responsible for 11.1 per cent of its rental income.
Perlman also suggested further investment in logistics real estate would be forthcoming from ESR, even in 2020. He said the company was in a relatively strong position as far as cash was concerned, with US$2 billion in dry powder waiting to be deployed, likely in tier-1 Asian cities.
Jeffrey Perlman, the chairman of ESR Cayman, centre, at the company's listing ceremony in Hong Kong in November last year. Photo: Jonathan Wong alt=Jeffrey Perlman, the chairman of ESR Cayman, centre, at the company's listing ceremony in Hong Kong in November last year. Photo: Jonathan Wong
He estimated that changes brought by the spread of the coronavirus in Asia and the reshaping of trade flows would benefit ESR. Just-in-time delivery models would have to be rethought, he said, as suppliers might need to stockpile more products for local needs and, therefore, need more logistics space.
Jeffrey Shen, the company's co-CEO and co-founder, said that just two construction projects out of 43 that ESR was engaged in were still being halted by the Chinese authorities. The company also said that only two of its 157 properties currently in operation were closed.
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In November 2019, ESR listed in Hong Kong and raised US$600 million in new capital from a US$1.8 billion IPO. In addition to directly owning logistics properties in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and India, it also manages funds that hold logistics properties.
Perlman said Indonesia and Vietnam were the next two countries of greatest interest to ESR. As of December 31, 2019, the company's gross floor area had grown 42.8 per cent year on year to 17.2 million square metres, mainly in its core markets of China, Japan and South Korea.
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