Growing a truly global business
One of the world’s leading providers of modern logistics facilities, with market-leading positions in China, Japan and Brazil, Global Logistic Properties (GLP) trades on Singapore Stock Exchange, reports its financials in US dollars, and has a truly global investor base. ‘Our investment story is quite complex,’ says Ambika Goel, the Singapore-based logistic firm’s senior vice president of capital markets and IR. ‘But that’s a tremendous opportunity.’
Goel feels the more intricate a company’s business, the greater the need for a proactive investor relations program. ‘We’re the market leader by a significant margin in all of our markets,’ she says. ‘We really don’t have available peers.’ To explain GLP’s story, Goel has at her fingertips the type of quantitative color that delights investors: she notes that China has just one fourteenth the per-capita logistics space the US has, and only 2 percent of that space is ‘modern’, with high ceilings and well-spaced columns.
‘Before GLP came into the market, there was almost no modern logistics space within China. It’s a similar story in Japan,’ says Goel. Few other companies have risen to the challenge: GLP is nine times larger than its closest competitor in China and has 40 percent more warehouse space than its nearest contender in Japan. It’s also the leading player in Brazil with a healthy development pipeline for future growth.
Jeff Schwartz, chairman of the executive committee and a co-founder of GLP, is an enthusiastic believer in the power of IR. ‘We’re very focused on IR – our investors are a key part of this firm’s future,’ he says. ‘We believe in our story, but the challenge is making sure others understand it, too. That’s why I spend much of the year meeting with shareholders, attending investment conferences and leading investor calls.’
Before Goel joined GLP 18 months ago, the company had just a handful of analysts covering the stock. A former buy-side analyst at a hedge fund and a sell-side real estate research analyst at Citi in New York, she knew the importance of attracting analyst coverage, and her professional connections let her zero in on analysts worth approaching. ‘We were very eager and aggressive in pursuing our targets,’ she recalls. Today, there are 15 analysts covering GLP at such firms as Citi, JPMorgan, UBS and Goldman Sachs.
GLP’s largest shareholder is GIC, the Singapore government’s sovereign wealth fund, which owns a 48.9 percent stake. Of the remaining shares outstanding, nearly half are owned by US investors and 15 percent by Europeans. Because GLP’s investors live in so many different time zones, Goel’s team has developed a detailed IR site that investors can visit for answers. Among its more impressive features is supplemental financial information that’s updated quarterly and can be downloaded directly in Excel; GLP is one of the few companies in Asia to provide such disclosure. In addition, Goel arranges regular conference calls with various investors around the globe to share GLP’s investment story.
The company engages in four or five roadshows a year, with Goel designing the targeting list. ‘We have a good sense from talking to people who cover the stock where the demand is coming from and who wants to hear about GLP,’ she says. ‘We seek out investors ourselves so when we’re on the road, we’re meeting with the people who most want to meet with us.’
The firm takes pride in showcasing its properties and Goel loves hosting visiting investors. She believes that after seeing the warehouses, both the buy side and the sell side will truly understand GLP’s investment case. And she points out that many GLP employees are shareholders so the entire company follows the stock price closely. ‘We’re lucky enough to work for a company where everyone in the company knows that IR is important,’ she says. ‘We get a lot of support.’