Analysts are positive on Mapletree Industrial Trust (MINT) as the REIT posted 2.5% higher distribution per unit (DPU) of 12.55 cents for the FY2020/FY2021 ended March.

CGS-CIMB Research analysts Lock Mun Yee and Eing Kar Mei have upgraded their recommendation to “add” from “hold” with a slightly higher target price of $3.05 from $3.03, as MINT’s full-year DPU beat their estimates at 102.7% of its FY2021 forecast.

They have also upped their DPU estimates for the FY2022 – FY2023 by 0.76%-0.85% with the contributions from MINT’s newly-acquired data centre and office in Virginia, US.

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“With expectations of gradually improving Singapore operations and following the recent share price dip, we upgrade our rating to ‘add’ on valuation grounds,” they write.

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Upside risk to MINT includes the “distribution of divestment gains” which are not factored into Lock and Eing’s current estimates, while they estimate that downside risk could be due to a protracted recovery in the economy, leading to a longer recovery period in vacancies and rentals.

DBS Group Research analysts Derek Tan and Dale Lai have kept their “buy” call on MINT with an unchanged target price of $3.25, as they view the REIT’s “certainty of growth” as a “welcome trait”.

“We like its improved earnings visibility of 4.0% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and capacity to further grow

in the data centre space will keep valuations at a premium,” they write.

SEE:Mapletree Industrial Trust prices inaugural $300 mil perpetual securities at 3.15%

MINT’s FY2020/2021 performance, too, stood ahead of Tan and Lai’s FY2020/2021 estimates.

The analysts from DBS also see the REIT as a fast-emerging data centre play, as it continues to pivot its exposure towards more data centres.

MINT, which is currently trading at price-to-net asset value (P/NAV) of 1.9 times and forward yield of 4.0%, is continuing to trade closer to its data centre peer, KDC REIT, which is trading at 2.1 times P/NAV with yields of 3.8%.

On this, Tan and Lai view MINT as having an “attractive land bank” in Singapore.

“We believe investors have not priced in the value in MINT’s portfolio. The redevelopment of its land bank of older flatted factories will drive portfolio gross floor area (GFA) and medium-term growth in distributions and NAV, keeping valuations at a premium,” they say.

Units in MINT closed 1 cent higher or 0.4% up at $2.82 on May 4.