This is the Friday follow-up to my notes here from the day before. Despite a rip-roaring awards ceremony, and poker being played until the early morning, most people managed to make it on time to the opening sessions. Private investors are nothing if not concerned with getting their money's worth. Still I managed to see another decent batch of companies on the second day and, again, all deserve consideration.

New River Retail

I've been invested in New River Retail for a number of years now and wrote a fairly lengthy article on the company three years ago. At the time I said that this was a share for the patient and how right I was: the share price has gone nowhere since then but we have been rewarded with a 6-7% yield for waiting. Of course the macro-economic environment has been far from kind with Brexit uncertainty, and numerous high-street retailers going to the wall as on-line stores steal their lunch, but good managers play the hand that they're dealt. Fortunately I believe that Allan Lockhart, CEO, is a good manager based on his long and successful history in property and capital markets. This is why New River Retail specialise in retail and leisure, particularly in the discount and convenience sub-sectors, and have almost no exposure to department stores or mid-market fashion retailers. They want clients who are trading well, and should continue to do so, and actively manage the 2000 occupiers in their portfolio to ensure that their trading success is put front and centre. Another differentiating factor for New River Retail is that they mainly operate community shopping centres, where the average travel time for customers is 30 min or less, rather then high-end, capex intensive destination centres which charge high rents to mid-market retail clients. It's all about reducing risk and keeping occupancy levels high.

Since listing in 2009 this REIT has grown to a portfolio size of £1.3bn, with an average yield of 8.5%, and much of this growth has been fuelled by equity raises (i.e. £500m in the last 3 years). However the business is now large enough to access the debt markets and £730m has been raised here in just the last 6 months. The big benefits of this unsecured bond funding (which was 2x over-subscribed even when they raised the amount being looked…

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