Ben Habib: Covid is an opportunity to scrap business rates altogether

Fprop CEO Ben Habib argues that Business Rates tax reform is needed to help tenants, landlords, and the economy during the Coronavirus crisis. 

He writes in City AM: “By its nature, the burden of this tax falls hardest on startups, small companies, and businesses experiencing difficulties. They have little income and often have to bear this tax out of capital — which is also, more often than not, scarce.”

Adding: “Calls for change are growing louder, and will reach a shriek when the March rates reintroduction takes its damaging hold. But by then it will be too late. The government must act now, and act boldly.”

Investors Chronicle Podcast: Fprop share valuation ‘crazy’

Fprop shares were discussed by Simon Thompson and Investors Chronicle Editor John Hughman on “The Alpha Podcast: Bargain hunting.” Listen here from 7:29 to 10:26. 

Thompson says: “Not all companies are actually doing badly… You can stock pick investment opportunities amongst the rubble… This valuation is absolutely crazy…”

Investors Chronicle: “A free ride on profitable businesses”

Simon Thompson covers our shares in Investors Chronicle. He highlights our high rent collection rates and argues that Fprop shares should be worth more. 

He says: “Trading on a 36 per cent discount to net asset value (NAV), and offering a prospective dividend yield of 5 per cent, First Property’s long-term record of value creation for shareholders – the company has posted annualised growth in net assets (including dividends) of 22.7 per cent over the past decade and paid out cumulative dividends of 13.32p a share since I included the shares, at 18.5p, in my 2011 Bargain Shares Portfolio – is completely at odds with the miserly valuation. Buy.”

Fprop Annual General Meeting: Watch Back Online

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM), held today, can be watched back on the Investor Meet Company website.

The accompanying RNS statement can be viewed by clicking here. The key points were continued high levels of group cash, a maintained dividend, and rent collection rates well above 90% in the UK, Poland, and Romania, despite challenges linked to coronavirus.

Presentation: Fprop’s Prelim Results with Ben Habib Q&A

This informative presentation on our preliminary results for the year to 31 March 2020 was given by management and CEO Ben Habib on June 25, 2020.

To make sure you are invited to our next presentation held vis Investor Meet Company, please sign up for the service here. A PDF of the report can be found here.

PODCAST: Fprop Chief Exec Discusses Investment Future

Fprop CEO Ben Habib appears on “Market Musing with Fairbairn and Russell podcast. They discussed Interest rates, investment, and the success of Fprop.

Mr Habib said: “I do think [interest rates will stay low]… there is not a central bank in the developed world that wants anything other than ultra-low interest rates.”

Listen to the full episode by clicking here.

Investors Chronicle: Bargain shares opportunities

Writing in the Investor’s Chronicle, Simon Thompson says he is “not concerned” by the “modest decline” in year-end net asset value (NAV), as this partly reflects the revaluation of several group properties which have still proved very strong investments. 

He also points towards our multiple income streams and relatively high recent rent collection rates, particularly in the UK, which points towards “the quality of tenants who account for two-thirds of third-party funds.”

Thompson concluded: “The company has generated annualised growth in net assets (including dividends) of 22.7 per cent a year over the past decade, the primary reason why the shares have produced a 155 per cent total return since I included them in my 2011 Bargain Shares Portfolio.

“On a modest price/earnings (PE) ratio of 9.5, offering a 4.5 per cent dividend yield, and on a 33 per cent discount to NAV, the shares remain on my buy list.”

Ben Habib, First Property Group: Contracts must be respected. Otherwise everything will fall like a house of cards

First Property Group Chief Executive Ben Habib gives an interview to Polish retail news specialist Retailnet.pl, in which discusses the recent economic and health crisis. 

“The Polish government must be praised for how it handled the current crisis,” he says. “They reacted quickly, and help was directed primarily to those sectors of the economy that suffered the most.”

Market Musings: Podcast No.26 with Ben Habib from First Property Group

Chief Executive Ben Habib appeared on the Market Musings with Fairbairn & Russell podcats, to discuss his career in business and the history of the company

“Since 2007, First Property Group… has had a cumulative growth in net assets of 25 percent per annum… from the peak of the last boom to the current position,” he told the presenters.

Ben Habib: There is Brighter Weather Ahead in Poland for Property Investor After the Covid Story 

First Property Group Chief Executive Ben Habib writes a column in The Property Chronicle magazine explaining why he continues to invest in Poland.

“The country continues to tick all the boxes; a virile economy, prudent spending, and sensible management of the COVID-19 crisis have maintained my faith in this economy, which I started to invest in back in 2005,” he writes.

“And amazingly, they are already able to start easing the crippling lockdown restrictions imposed across the continent, beginning last week. This is critical, as those countries which emerge earliest and with good balance sheets will do the best.”

Investors Chronicle: ‘First Property is a shrewd operator’

Simon Thompson analyses First Property Group’s recent announcements on sales we’ve completed, new leases we’ve signed, and our share price. The columnist reports the sale of our share in the CH8 tower in Warsaw “generating an eye-catching internal rate of return (IRR) of 63 per cent since its acquisition in 2014” and argues “there is still a glaring valuation anomaly still to exploit…”

He adds: “Effectively, you are getting a free ride on these investments and a fund management business that manages £602m of third-party assets even though the company has a track record of outperformance, delivering an IRR of 25 per cent (including dividends) since 2006.”