Abacus Expands Storage Interests

20 August 2019

Buried within the results from Abacus this week was a $47m expansion of their listed securities interests which is believed to represent the acquisition of a 4.6% interest in National Storage REIT forming part of Abacus’ strategic expansion into the self storage market. Abacus’ self storage portfolio contains 70 assets valued at $908 million and accounted for 32 per cent of the group’s assets. Abacus also own a 25% interest in Storage King which operates across 180 sites. Together with Storage King as their operator, Abacus expect to roll out further sites across the major eastern seaboard capital cities. It is unclear yet what Abacus hope to achieve with their stake in the National Storage REIT. The REIT is the second largest player in Australia’s self storage market (behind Kennards) with 9.8% market share and approx 144 sites across Australia & NZ. The Abacus annual report reveals some interesting statistics on the current Storage portfolio, including; Average occupancy 88.5% (down 90bps on FY18) Average rental per available metre $251 (up 1.2% on FY18) Weighted Average Cap Rate 6.91% (-54bps on FY18) Operating Margin 62% (down 200Bps on FY18) The alternative rationale for the investment is as a short term park of capital pending the potential outcomes of the takeover of the Australian Unity Office Fund which would require $308m of capital from Abacus. The fund recently raised $275m of fresh capital for this initiative however some capital is also likely to be allocated to the recent purchase of 201 Elizabeth Street.