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Growing with India
Mr Sanjeev Dasgupta, CEO of the trustee-manager of Ascendas India Trust (a-iTrust), believes that being transparent and fostering close relationships with the investment community are critical elements underpinning the growth of the Trust.
Headquartered in Singapore, a-iTrust owns seven IT parks and six modern warehouses in India with total floor area of 12.8 million sq ft spread across five cities as at 31 March 2018.
This year at Singapore Corporate Awards, it won the 2018 Best Investor Relations Award – Gold (REITs and Business Trust). Mr Dasgupta explains the rationale behind a-iTrust’s commitment to investors.
1. What are your thoughts about winning the Best Investor Relations Award – Gold in the REITs and Business Trusts category?
We are honoured to have won it, and believe it is recognition of our commitment to the best practices in investor relations and the robust investor relations policies and programmes that we have put in place.
At a-iTrust, we take the investor relations function very seriously. The management team spends considerable time on the road travelling to meet investors, and attending calls and meetings. Through these meetings, we endeavour to build trust and support from our stakeholders.
I would like to thank our Board and unitholders for their unwavering support and confidence in a-iTrust. I would also like to thank the management team for their dedication and hard work in making this award possible.
2. Can you describe your philosophy on investor relations?
Investor relations is the means by which we reach out to and build a relationship with the investment community.
Since listing, a-iTrust has almost tripled its portfolio floor area to close to 13 million sq ft. To fund this growth, we have relied on capital from both debt and equity markets. By providing transparent financial disclosures, we help investors gain in-depth understanding of the performance of our business. This is critical as investors who understand us well are more comfortable to support our future growth by providing us with fresh capital when needed.
We are also committed to building trust with the investment community. We do so by being honest with our communications. For example, while we hedge our currency exposures, we always tell our investors that currency risk is an important factor that they should take into account when considering a-iTrust.
Lastly, we are always striving to make further improvements. For instance, in recent years, we expanded disclosures in our annual report by having separate Chairman’s and CEO’s message, and providing more financial and operational details on the Trust. We also provide a quarterly spreadsheet with data-series going back to IPO.
3. Can you tell us more about your investor outreach programme?
We engage the investment community through our extensive investor outreach programme. In FY17/18, we met and spoke to 185 investors and analysts.
We participate in local and overseas conferences organised by securities houses and banks. We visit the United States, Europe and key Asian markets like Tokyo and Hong Kong annually to meet up with the investment community.
At the same time, we conduct quarterly conference calls for Singapore and overseas investors and analysts after announcing our results. We also arrange site visits to our properties in India for investors and analysts to provide them with first-hand insight of the quality of our assets.
For retail investors, we participate in and organise a series of events including the REITs Symposium, Annual General Meeting, SGX-REITAS Educational Series and our half-yearly webcast of results. We also address queries raised by retail investors via e-mails, phone calls and our website.
Our website is a fantastic source of information for the investment community. You can find detailed quarterly result disclosures, fact sheet, and distribution history on our website. This helps our investors keep tabs on our portfolio.
Owned by a-iTrust, Arshiya warehouses are located in Panvel, near Mumbai. PHOTO: ASCENDAS INDIA TRUST
4. What do you think contributes to excellent corporate governance?
We think open and regular communications with the investment community keeps them informed of the Trust’s performance and developments, which is a big part of good corporate governance.
Managing risks is another part of it. We have put in place a robust risk management framework to identify potential risks and implement key controls to mitigate these risks. This framework is continuously assessed and monitored in light of the constantly changing regulatory environment. The key risks and internal controls of the Trust are identified by the Board and management team, which are assisted by an appointed internal auditor.
Upholding the highest standards of corporate governance is critical to the success of the Trust. Our Board, which is responsible for safeguarding the interests of unitholders, sets the tone by establishing and monitoring goals for the management team and ensuring that proper frameworks are in place.
- a-iTrust has been listed on Singapore Exchange since August 2007. Its land bank yields approximately 5.4 million sq ft of office space. Since listing publicly, they have progressively added close to 4.4 million sq ft of space through developments and another 4.8 million sq ft of space through acquisitions.
- With an initial portfolio of 3.6 million sq ft, the Trust’s portfolio has grown by 13 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the last 11 years to 12.8 million sq ft as of 31 March 2018.
- It acquires sponsor and third-party assets other than developments.