C&C Group, Clontarf Energy, Conroy Gold & Natural Resources, DCC, Falcon Oil & Gas, Grafton Group, ICON, Irish Continental Group, Irish Residential Properties REIT, Irish shares, Irish Stock Exchange, Irish value investing, ISEQ, Karelian Diamond Resources, TGISVP, The Great Irish Share Valuation Project
Continued from here:
Last TGISVP Post: Here
Market Cap: EUR 465 Million
Price: EUR 1.115
Back in 2014, I was lukewarm towards IRES – it seemed cobbled together, and commercial property appeared to offer more obvious gains & investor interest. But since then, the Irish media (& in turn, certain politicians) have become increasingly hysterical about foreclosures, evictions*, mortgage rates, and the general housing crisis**. [*Apparently, a landlord deciding not to renew a lease is now deemed an eviction by some… **For overseas readers, it may be hard to keep up: The housing crisis no longer refers to the huge Irish price collapse…it’s now an appalling shortage of housing, just a few years later!?] We’ve also seen widespread criticism of the Central Bank’s new mortgage regulations…generally by the same people who criticised the Bank for its lack of regulation in the boom years!
Ironically, all this attention is fueling a continued rise in residential property prices (exacerbating the very housing ‘crisis’ they’re wringing their hands over!). Just as importantly, it’s re-directed investor interest – IRES is now the highest rated Irish property stock, in terms of premium to book. It’s certainly a unique story: IRES is already the dominant professional residential landlord* in Ireland, focusing on Dublin apartments, which perfectly captures an ongoing generational shift (as we’ve seen in the US) towards urban living, delayed marriage & kids, and an increasing preference to rent vs. own. [*Plus the only landlord with experience of N American apartment amenities & management – which offers interesting potential in what is still a relatively unsophisticated market].
Unfortunately, IRES hasn’t lived up to the promise of its prospectus. Touting gross rental yields of 8.6-10% & net yields of 6-7% was sheer fantasy…and a promised 4.5-5% dividend yield now looks problematic. As of the latest trading update, IRES has now assembled a (relatively new) 2,000+ apartment portfolio (costing €519 million & boasting 97% occupancy), with an LTV ratio of just 23% & an additional €200 million of investment/development capacity. However, the gross portfolio yield is now 6.2%, while the net’s just 5.0%…which is actually flattered by a significant portion of the portfolio being located in West/Southwest Dublin (i.e. Inchicore/Tallaght direction), which tends to offer higher rental yields but less potential for capital appreciation (vs. South Dublin, for example). But overall, the scope for capital gains seems compelling, noting particularly the recent 10-15% pa rent increases (albeit, interrupted by the recent heavy-handed two year rent freeze), though obviously this should already be reflected within the IRES portfolio valuation/yield & investors’ total return expectations – a 1.0 Price/Book ratio still seems appropriate: Continue reading