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2016 All-Asia Research Team: Property, No. 2: Chi Wing (Eva) Lee, Kim Wright & team

Chi Wing (Eva) Lee and Kim Wright take their 18-person UBS group from runner-up to second place, delivering the firm’s best showing on this lineup since 2006.

Chi Wing (Eva) Lee, Kim Wright & team
First-Place Appearances: 7

Total Appearances: 14

Team Debut: 1997

Chi Wing (Eva) Lee and Kim Wright take their 18-person UBS group from runner-up to second place, delivering the firm’s best showing on this lineup since 2006. The analysts are “prolific in research production and comprehensive in their approach to evaluating prevailing market dynamics,” one fund manager pronounces. “They are good not only on the stock level but on the market level, offering a relative view in a global context.” With members stationed in a dozen cities throughout the region, UBS’s team publishes on 115 regional property companies. “Over the last three months, the South East Asian listed property and the Hong Kong property companies have performed well, benefiting from fading [U.S. Federal Reserve] fears and a weaker dollar,” notes Wright. Even so, macro headwinds will remain in the second half if the Fed hikes rates and the dollar strengthens, she adds. Conditions in Hong Kong also remain challenging going forward. “Residential prices have declined 13 percent since their September peak and are likely to continue on a downtrend — and there is growing pressure on retail rents, with Hong Kong retail sales falling 13 percent over the first two months of the year,” she adds. Against this backdrop, Hong Kong–headquartered China Overseas Land & Investment is their top pick. “Property policy easing has been effective in driving a recovery in property activity,” the analyst explains. “COLI’s first-quarter 2016 sales were up 25 percent, year over year, and we expect their positive momentum to continue in April and May, reflecting growth in sales from tier-2 cities. We also expect gross margins to recover in 2016, to over 30 percent, while 2015 margins having been adversely affected by inventory clearing.” Their price target for the stock is HK$33.43, which represents a 34.5 percent premium to its value in late April. Wright earned a bachelor of commerce degree at the University of Western Sydney and was a real estate analyst at Armstrong Jones before going to UBS in 1996. Prior to assuming her current responsibilities, she held several posts, including co-head of Australian real estate research in Sydney and co-director of European sector coverage and global real estate strategy, first in London then Hong Kong, her current base. Lee, who joined the firm in 2011, has reported on China’s property shares for Macquarie Securities, tracked consumer and media names at Credit Suisse and covered the China and Hong Kong property and hotels sector for HSBC Securities Asia. She worked as an accountant in Hong Kong at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Arthur Andersen before moving to the sell side and holds a bachelor of commerce degree from Canada’s University of Calgary. Their team delivers “a good balance of fundamental strategic and implementable tactical views,” in the opinion of another client.

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