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Rating Action:

Moody's changes Mapletree Logistics Trust's outlook to negative; affirms Baa1 issuer rating

16 Dec 2016

Singapore, December 16, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has changed Mapletree Logistics Trust's (MLT) outlook to negative from stable. Moody's has also affirmed MLT's Baa1 issuer rating and the Baa3 rating on its subordinated perpetual securities.

At the same time, Moody's has affirmed the provisional (P)Baa1 senior unsecured rating on the medium term note programs of MapletreeLog Treasury Company Pte. Ltd. (MTC) and MapletreeLog Treasury Company (HKSAR) Ltd. (MTCHK). Moody's has also affirmed the Baa1 rating on the notes drawn down from the program under MTC. The notes and programs are guaranteed by MLT. The outlook for MTC and MTCHK are also changed to negative from stable.

MTCHK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MTC, which is in turn a wholly-owned subsidiary of MLT.

RATINGS RATIONALE

"The change in outlook to negative reflects our expectations that MLT's credit profile will weaken beyond the parameters of its Baa1 ratings, following its proposed acquisition of four logistics properties in Australia," says Rachel Chua, a Moody's Analyst.

MLT announced on 15 December 2016 that it will acquire four logistics properties in the Australian state of Victoria for a total acquisition cost (including stamp duties and fees) of AUD152.1 million (SGD162.5 million). The acquisition will be largely funded with debt.

"We expect MLT's post-transaction leverage -- as measured by adjusted debt/ total deposited assets -- will weaken to 45.4% from 43.8% at 30 September 2016, which exceeds our downgrade trigger of 45%," adds Chua, who is also Moody's Lead Analyst for MLT.

From an earnings capacity perspective, Moody's expects MLT's leverage -- as measured by adjusted net debt/EBITDA -- will also stay at around 8.5x-8.7x over the next 12-18 months.

Moody's debt calculation includes the 50% equity rating assigned to MLT's perpetual securities -- with a gross outstanding amount of SGD600 million -- and Moody's standard adjustment for operating leases, which treat them as akin to borrowing arrangements. Excluding these adjustments, MLT expects its reported debt/asset ratio to be 39.4% on a pro-forma basis.

The negative outlook also reflects MLT's heightened refinancing risk over the next 12 months. At 30 September 2016, MLT had more than SGD250 million of debt maturing in the next 12 months compared to a cash balance of SGD82 million and undrawn committed facilities of close to SGD240 million.

In addition, MLT's 2012 subordinated perpetual securities has its first call date in September 2017. If redeemed, Moody's expects that the trust will raise fresh equity or subordinated perpetual securities with similar terms and conditions. Debt financing for the redemption will further weaken its credit metrics and will likely result in a negative rating action.

At the same time, the Baa1 ratings reflect MLT's diversified portfolio of logistics assets across eight markets in Asia Pacific, its stable and recurring income, its track record of capital market access and good financial flexibility, given that all its debt is funded on an unsecured basis.

The ratings also reflect the support of Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd (unrated), MLT's financially-strong sponsor with strong banking relationships, and the trust's track record of good access to diversified funding sources.

MLT's ratings remain constrained by its: (1) lower occupancy rates, as it converts single-user assets to multi-tenanted buildings; and (2) continued acquisitive growth strategy.

The ratings are also constrained by the inherent liquidity risks associated with Singapore's real estate investment trusts, as a result of their high dividend payout ratios and minimum cash balances.

The four logistics properties in Australia have a combined gross floor area of 103,517 square meters and are fully leased to leading Australian and multinational corporations with a weighted average lease expiry of 6.4 years with annual rent escalations. The properties have an initial net property income yield of approximately 7.6%.

The outlook is negative reflecting ongoing weakening in financial metrics and increasing refinancing risk.

MLT's ratings could face further downward rating pressure if: (1) it undertakes further debt-funded acquisitions over the next 12 months, or raises debt to redeem its subordinated perpetual securities at call date, such that its leverage further increases; or (2) occupancy rates fall, past-due rent increase or profitability declines, due to weakening market conditions.

Specific indicators that would result in a downgrade include adjusted debt/total deposited assets exceeding 45%, adjusted debt/EBITDA exceeding 8.5x and adjusted EBITDA/interest coverage falling below 3.0x.

Given the negative ratings outlook, upgrade pressure is unlikely. However, the ratings outlook could return to stable if MLT successfully improves its credit profile, such that: 1) its adjusted debt/total deposited assets recovers to 40%-43% on a sustained basis; 2) adjusted net debt/EBITDA stays below 8.0x-8.5x; and 3) EBITDA interest coverage maintained above 3.5x-4.0x on a sustained basis.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Global Rating Methodology for REITs and Other Commercial Property Firms published in July 2010. Please see the Ratings Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Listed on the Singapore Exchange in July 2005, Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT) has a diversified portfolio of 128 properties in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam and Australia, with a total appraised value of SGD5.5 billion at 30 September 2016, including the announced acquisitions of the four logistics properties in Australian state of Victoria.

MLT's sponsor is Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited (Aaa stable), which is in turn an investment company owned by the Singapore Government (Aaa stable). At 31 March 2016, Mapletree Investments held a 39.5% stake in the trust.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Rachel Chua
Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Laura Acres
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (852) 3551-3077

No Related Data.
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