2021 will see the COVID-19 vaccine delivered. But the e-commerce boom is here to stay, driving demand for ASX logistics shares.
The post How COVID-19 has set ASX logistics shares up to outperform in 2021 appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia. –
It’s not yet a full year since COVID-19 smashed its way across the globe. Yet in that short time the pandemic has changed countless aspects of our lives. Even in Australia, where we’ve done an exceptional job keeping the virus at bay.
Twelve months ago, the idea of social distancing and strict lockdowns in the free world was almost unimaginable. Not to mention the massive shift to working, socialising, and shopping from home.
Now, with the vaccine rollout commencing in much of the world and about to kick off Down Under, you might think this year will see a return to ‘normal’. But that’s unlikely to be the case.
With a bit of luck, we could see many of 2020’s restrictions eased or even lifted over the coming months. But many trends set over the past year are likely to persist — including the accelerated shift to online shopping.
Here’s an excerpt from online trading and investment specialist Saxo Bank’s first quarter 2021 Quarterly Outlook for global markets (published Wednesday 27 January):
The pandemic… has transformed consumer spending habits for good. Only digital companies or those able to levy digitalisation were able to protect or, in some cases, even increase their revenue stream. All of this is unlikely to change when stores open their doors again, exacerbating the infrastructure investment gap.
Tapping into the infrastructure investment gap
The infrastructure investment gap Saxo refers to centres on logistics spaces (warehouses) and transport (international and domestic).
Steen Jakobsen, chief economist and CIO at Saxo Bank says the business world “has been so busy getting digital and virtual that they forgot the real physical world. You can have the world’s best product online and sell millions of units, but if you cannot produce, ship and deliver it, good luck making a return.”
Sam Tamblyn, the founder and managing director of Urban Property Australia, has homed in on this trend. Writing in the Australian Financial Review about investing in Australia in 2021, Tamblyn says:
In my view, the industrial property market is tipped to be the best-performing commercial property asset class, driven by the increased consumer take up of e-commerce and infrastructure investment.
Travis Erridge, managing director of logistics consultancy TM Insight, is also bullish on logistics assets, driven by the booming e-commerce sector. According to Erridge (quoted by the AFR):
This means a greater industrial footprint and increasing demand for warehousing in capital cities and in the inner city areas. Gone are the days of overly lean supply chains and instead flexibility is key. Businesses need an agile supply chain that can cope with new demands of the consumer.
Online sales to keep on growing
Colliers International estimates that we need some 85,000 square metres of warehouse space for every $1 billion spent shopping online. And Colliers forecasts continued strong growth in e-commerce in the year ahead.
According to Malcom Tyson, managing director of industrial at Colliers International (quoted by the AFR):
We are forecasting online sales to grow by $12.8 billion in 2021, which would result in demand of about one million square metres of warehouse demand from e-commerce alone in 2021.
Tyson estimates there is around $26 billion of capital – both institutional and private – keen to invest in the logistics sector (as at December).
“Given this, additional assets from corporate groups are expected to be brought to market in 2021 as groups look to capitalise on the continued strength of the industrial and logistics market.”
Christopher Dembik, head of macro analysis for Saxo Bank adds:
If we accept that digitalisation will drive everything and online platforms will become dominant, we need to understand that we have reached the point where the lack of investment in infrastructure to source and build, and in logistics to deliver the products that these successful platforms sell, is becoming a serious constraint that is about to drive cost inflation higher.
3 ASX logistics shares
If the e-commerce boom continues, as highlighted above, ASX logistics shares could be among the big beneficiaries.
We’ll take a look at 3 of those here.
First up, APN Industria REIT (ASX: ADI). The Australian real estate investment trust (REIT) owns a portfolio of industrial and business park assets in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. APN has a market cap of $614 million and pays an annual dividend yield of 5.8%. Shares are up 1% so far in 2021, and down 6% over the past full year.
Next up, Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX: CIP), Australia’s largest domestic pure play industrial REIT. Centuria’s warehouses are located across Australia’s capital cities. Centuria has a market cap of $1.7 billion. It pays an annual dividend yield of 5.9%. The Centuria Industrial REIT share price is flat so far in 2021 and down 15% since 29 January 2020.
Last up, Goodman Group (ASX: GMG), which has logistics operations that span Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom, North America and Brazil. Goodman has a market cap of $32.7 billion. It pays an annual dividend yield of 1.7%. Goodman’s share price is down 9% in 2021, but still up 18% over the past full year.
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Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.
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