Daily Japan: Accordia Golf Trust (AGT SP): MBK + ORIX + AGT = Time for Outperformance? 9.5% Dividend Yield and more

By January 10, 2019 Japan

In this briefing:

  1. Accordia Golf Trust (AGT SP): MBK + ORIX + AGT = Time for Outperformance? 9.5% Dividend Yield
  2. Toshiba Buyback: Proceeding Apace, But That’s Slow
  3. ZOZO – Buying a Stairway to Heaven
  4. GER Upcoming EVENTS Calendar
  5. Are Chip Oligopolies Real?

1. Accordia Golf Trust (AGT SP): MBK + ORIX + AGT = Time for Outperformance? 9.5% Dividend Yield

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Accordia Golf Trust (AGT SP) has not been a great success story since its IPO in August 2014. The stock went to market at a unit price of 0.97 SGD and was recently traded at 0.53 SGD. If we include the dividends received since the IPO (0.2387 SGD) the ‘real‘ adjusted price is still only 0.76 SGD.

In the past we have attended several management meetings and the 2017 company AGM but were disappointed on multiple occasions by management that either 1) did not care, 2) did not know how or 3) was held back by other corporate Japanese factors from creating shareholder value.

Over the last six months several new developments are potentially creating a cocktail that could finally create sustained value for AGT unitholders:

  • Appointment of new CFO who assures investors no repeat of “membership deposit debacle”
  • New five-year funding secured from two lenders
  • MBK Partners buys ORIX Golf Management
  • Value investor Hibiki Path Advisors buys 6.2% of the company
  • Clear focus on acquisitions and using its balance sheet strength

With its 2019 financial year ending in March, investors can be hopeful that its dividend in FY20 can grow to a minimum of 5 SGD cents suggesting a yield of 9.5%. If management injects assets a higher DPU is possible.

2. Toshiba Buyback: Proceeding Apace, But That’s Slow

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In November 2017, Toshiba Corp (6502 JP) bowed to the inevitable and issued shares in order to shore up shareholder equity ahead of the 31 March 2018 deadline where if the company had not announced a positive shareholder equity number, it would have been delisted according to the Enforcement Rules of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. 

So it issued ¥600 billion of equity in an accelerated privately-negotiated placement to hedge funds. There was some jawboning later from domestic institutions who had not gotten the show on the deal, but they would do well to remember that when Toshiba was in dire straits earlier that year, and continued listing was not guaranteed because of accounting issues which were later overcome (before the equity issuance), it was the hedge funds who bought dozens of percent of the company – not domestic financial institutions. In any case, the equity was predictably needed, but as a way of making it clear that it would not be forever, the release accompanying the financing said the company would accelerate returns to shareholders once the sale of Toshiba Memory Corporation was complete. 

That return of capital to shareholders was announced in June 2018 after the closing of the TMC transaction had been confirmed. Toshiba would buy back ¥700 billion of shares. At the time, that was up to 40% of shares outstanding, but the shares rose as the shares of companies with large buyback plans do, and it took until November to dot the “i”s and cross the “t”s on making sure that the cash in the bank account was deemed distributable capital surplus. On November 8th, a year after announcing the sale of equity, Toshiba announced the start of a Very Large Buyback. A few days later the company announced a large ToSTNeT-3 buyback, offering to buy back all  ¥700 billion of shares the following morning at that day’s close. A week later the company had bought back ¥243 billion or more than 35% of the total buyback then announced further purchases would be made in the market. 

That’s when the fun began. 


For previous recent treatment on the Toshiba buyback, see the following:

    Toshiba: King Street’s Buyback Proposals Lack Required Detail (5 Oct 2018)
    Toshiba’s Buyback – How It Might Work (9 Nov 2018)
    Toshiba’s ToSTNeT-3 Buyback: Unwinding? Another Game of 🐓? (12 Nov 2018)
    Toshiba ToSTNeT-3: Round 2 (¥579bn To Go) (14 Nov 2018)
    Toshiba ToSTNeT-3 Buyback Means 1/3 Done. Off To Buy In The Market Now! (21 Nov 2018)
    Toshiba Buyback Update – Not Banging Down Doors To Get Stock Yet (3 Dec 2018)

3. ZOZO – Buying a Stairway to Heaven

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ZOZO (3092 JP)

Source: Japan Analytics

ONWARD AND OUT – ZOZO (3092 JP), formerly Start Today, has been the sixth-most-traded large capitalisation stock over the last ten trading days after Benefit One (2412 JP), Rizap (2928 JP), Takeda Pharmaceutical (4502 JP)Hoshizaki (6465 JP), and Workman Co Ltd (7564 JP). According to Nikkei XTECH, on 25th December apparel maker Onward (8016 JP) suspended selling of its products on ZOZOTOWN and will leave the platform altogether. Although Onward products are estimated to account for less than 3% of total transactions on the site, there are concerns that other apparel makers will follow suit as a result of the emerging direct competition on the site from ZOZO’s private label. Since reaching our 4.0 ‘Overbought’ threshold on 9th July 2018, ZOZO shares have corrected by 57% – the worst performance of any large cap from that date – as concerns mounted over the private brand strategy and the behaviour of CEO Yusaku Maezawa.  Since bottoming on 4th January, the shares have risen by 18% following positive comments from the CEO about sales over the New Year holiday period.    

PRIVATE-LABEL STRETCH GOALS– The ‘teething problems’ of ZOZO entering the private-label apparel business have been well-documented by Michael Causton in a recent Insight on Smartkarma. Michael rightly questions the feasibility of the company scaling a ¥200b apparel business within the next three years while targeting an additional incremental ¥400b in e-commerce revenue, particularly as it has taken ZOZO twenty years to reach the first ¥100b in annual revenues. In the DETAIL section below, we shall examine ZOZO’s current and possible future financial condition as it strives to become one of the top-ten global fashion retailers. 

‘ZOSO’ & THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN – In addition to some notable purchases of modern art at record-breaking prices, CEO Maezawa also last year booked himself on Space X’s first flight to the moon. With apologies, the lyrics of the peerless song from Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album – known by fans as ‘Zoso’ after the symbol designed by Jimmy Page for the inner sleeve – come to mind:- 

There’s a lad(y) who’s sure
All that glitters is gold
And 
(s)he’s buying a stairway to heaven
When
(s)he gets there (s)he knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word 
(s)he can get what (s)he came for.

4. GER Upcoming EVENTS Calendar

We have received requests to provide a calendar of upcoming catalysts for near-term M&A, stubs and erstwhile event-driven names. Below is a list of catalysts over the near-term for such names as below. If you are interested in importing this directly into Outlook or have any further requests, please let us know. 

Kind regards, Rickin Arun and Venkat

5. Are Chip Oligopolies Real?

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In the semiconductor industry, particularly in the DRAM sector, there has been significant consolidation leading some to hypothesize that there’s now an oligopoly that will cause prices to normalize and thus end the business’ notorious revenue cycles.  Here we will take a critical look at this argument to explain its fallacy.

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