Caravan, Tourist and Accommodation Parks: Market Review

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1 ATCHISON CONSULTANTS Cape Funds Caravan, Tourist and Accommodation Parks: Market Review 10 August 2010 Level 3, 155 Queen Street Melbourne, VIC 3000 Phone: Fax: Mobile:

2 Contents Executive Summary Australian Parks Market Parks Market - State Comparison Parks Market Industry Segments Short Term / Tourism Long Term Parks Market Operation Revenue Expenses Yield Parks Market Fundamentals Demand Supply Peer Analysis Market Performance...10 Appendix A...11 Appendix B...13 STATEMENT OF WARNING AND DISCLOSURE

3 Executive Summary The caravan park industry is associated with a relatively inexpensive form of travel accommodation providing both short term berths in tourism style parks and long term facilities for parks with a more permanent population, often on residential site agreements. Most parks will have a combination of both facilities to varying degrees. Facilities offered generally include unpowered sites, powered sites, caravan sites, cabins, flats, units and villas. Amenities will variously include swimming pool, bbq complex, shops, entertainment arcades and other leisure facilities. In Australia there are currently 1,641 caravan park establishments nationwide with 40 or more sites with an estimated annual revenue of $1.1 billion as at 31 March The estimated aggregate value of caravan parks in Australia is $5 billion. The number of caravan park establishments has been decreasing over the past 10 years, as parks are redeveloped for other purposes. Despite the decline in caravan park numbers, the industry has been able to increase revenue by 36.5% over 10 years. The development of higher quality facilities and the increased deployment of cabins and villas has been a key factor in revenue growth, as it has allowed operators to charge higher tariffs. The eastern seaboard states account for about 75% of the national caravan parks total capacity with New South Wales having the largest share. The national occupancy rate averages 50.1%, with New South Wales and Victoria having occupancy rates above 55%. Caravan parks in Queensland are often situated in prime locations allowing parks in the state to generate higher revenue than Victoria despite having fewer establishments and a relatively low occupancy rate. Caravan park ratio of expenses to revenue is essential in the assessment of value in an operating business and is subject to manual adjustment of Profit & Loss items on an individual basis. This ratio and other metrics and performance benchmarks are influenced heavily by several factors including the proportion of tourist or permanent resident sites, average length of stay and the proportion of unpowered, powered or cabin sites. However, expense ratios and performance benchmarks vary widely to the point of being practically site specific and generalisation is problematic making industry averages meaningful only in certain applications. Demand for caravan parks is mainly driven by short term guests with domestic visitors accounting for nearly 90% of all nights spent at caravan parks. Families make up most of the domestic guests however the number of seniors using caravan parks is rising. The number of retirees using caravan parks is expected to increase as baby boomers begin to leave work. This expected change in demographics and preferences has resulted in an increase in the number of cabins (generally more profitable) at the expense of other accommodation facilities. The caravan park industry is undergoing transformation with major operators starting to increase participation in an industry with highly fragmented ownership and predominately operated by small businesses. The largest owner-operated caravan park business currently controls 9.7% of the total industry revenue. Despite having a low concentration ratio, up to 180 major marketing alliance groups exist in the industry representing a large proportion of the industry

4 On the basis of research and analysis undertaken for the purpose of this proposed fund, Atchison Consultants believes it is not unreasonable that given assumed capitalisation rates in the order of 9% - 10% for freehold caravan parks and 14% to 17% for leasehold caravan parks, that a distributable yield after a 2% fee to the manager could be in the order of 8.5%, given due and proper care and effective management by the fund manager and Responsible Entity in accordance with their obligations, appropriate property selection and property management by the fund manager and that a 2:1 ratio of freehold to leasehold properties are held in the fund (the latter increasing tenure risk but also leveraging up distributable yield). Disclaimer: Atchison Consultants recommend that investors read the detailed information contained in the Product Disclosure Document. Investors should read the Warning (General Advice Only) and Disclosure (Commissioned Research) at the end of this report. 1 Australian Parks Market A caravan park is an establishment that provides long or short term accommodation to the general public and includes powered sites, cabins, caravans, flats, units and villas. Caravan Parks provide a relatively inexpensive form of tourist accommodation and for a small proportion of the population, permanent accommodation. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the caravan parks industry currently has 1,641 establishments of 40 sites or more with estimated revenue of $1.1 billion in the twelve months to 31 March However, it is estimated that, according to CRVA data, there are 2,360 parks in total. The estimated aggregate value of the sector is $5 billion. Chart 1 shows the number of establishments and revenue for caravan parks (>40 sites) over the 10 years to March No. of Establishments 1,900 1,850 1,800 1,750 1,700 1,650 1,600 1, Revenue ($m) 1,500 0 Mar-00 Mar-01 Mar-02 Mar-03 Mar-04 Mar-05 Mar-06 Mar-07 Mar-08 Mar-09 Mar-10 Establishments Revenue ($m) Source: IBIS The number of caravan parks in this size category has decreased by 11.5% whilst revenue has increased by 36.5% in the past 10 years

5 Redevelopment of caravan park sites for residential and higher value uses has been the key factor in the increase in park closures in the past 10 years with associated land tax increases and council rate increases compounding the problem. Expiring ground leases, restructuring and change of business have also been other factors that have prompted caravan park closures. Revenue growth has been strong as the nature and quality of accommodation and facilities (particularly the provision of cabins replacing powered or unpowered sites) have improved allowing operators to charge a higher tariff. Higher capacity of caravan parks and increased occupancy rates have also added to the increased industry revenue. Traditionally the caravan park industry has operated with fragmented ownership, over-represented by small business and owner-operators. However major tourism sector operators are being attracted by the geographic location of caravan parks which are generally located in tourism regions, near beaches and in regional areas. This is likely to consolidate the industry. In NSW 30% of caravan parks are located on Crown land and are therefore operated under ground lease. These sites are normally valued on a different yield The fundamental underlying economic drivers of the caravan parks include economic growth, population growth and tourism. The industry caters for both tourists and permanent residents including short and long stay accommodation. In the context of this report caravan parks are assumed to encompass tourist and casual accommodation parks. 2 Parks Market - State Comparison Table 1 shows the state breakdown of caravan parks by market size and occupancy. Table 1 Market Size and Occupancy by State as at 31 March 2010 (>40 sites) State/Territory No of Occupancy Total Capacity Establishments Rate Revenue ( 000) (%) ($million) New South Wales Victoria Queensland Western Australia South Australia Rest of Australia Australia 1, ,124.9 Source: ABS New South Wales has the highest capacity and occupancy rate, with a capacity of 75,600 and occupancy at 62.6%. Over the past 10 years the number of establishments in the 40 plus size category has fallen by 11.5% which has resulted in the total capacity decreasing by 8.1%. New South Wales and Queensland had the biggest decline in total capacity in the past

6 years as the number of establishments fell. The location of caravan parks in prime real estate areas on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts has resulted in a number of parks being converted into higher value accommodation and being developed for residential use or other uses. Queensland had the second highest revenue despite having fewer establishments and a lower occupancy than Victoria. The prime location of caravan parks in Queensland along coastlines allows much higher tariffs in comparison with Victoria. 3 Parks Market Industry Segments The market can be broadly classified into two major groups being short and long term orientated caravan parks, although many establishments have elements of both to varying degrees. Short term caravan parks are mainly focused on tourists and shorter term travellers while long term caravan parks focus on retirees and a workforce in a region. Short term caravan parks account for approximately 87% by number and approximately 85% of revenue. Table 2 shows the short and long term caravan parks market fundamentals. Table 2 Short and Long Term Caravan Parks as at 31 March 2010 (>40 sites) Site No. of Total Occupancy Establishments capacity rate Revenue ('000) (%) ($m) Short Term Long Term , ,124.9 Source: ABS Long term caravan parks have a higher occupancy rate than short term parks. 3.1 Short Term / Tourism Tourism orientated caravan parks account for a significant amount of the caravan park market with demand from domestic visitors accounting for about 90% of all nights spent. The following Chart 2 shows domestic and international caravan parks visitor segments. Chart 2 - Domestic and International Caravan Park Visitors - 5 -

7 International Visitors, 7% Seniors, 21% Families, 60% Young Couples, 12% Source: IBIS Domestic visitors are mainly families travelling as a group during holiday periods. This represents the age group between 15 to 54 years. Families and seniors account for over 81% of the nights spent at caravan parks by tourists with international visitors accounting for 7%. Unlike domestic visitors, international visitors are mainly young people aged below 25 travelling as a group. Table 3 Tourist Type Revenue Breakdown - 31 March 2010 (>40 sites) Visitor Type Revenue ($m) Families Young Couple Seniors International Visitors Total 1, ,124.9 Source: ABS and IBIS The revenue generated by caravan parks short term visitors increased by 7.9% in the twelve months to March Increased revenue from seniors is expected to increase as baby boomers retire. Some of the gains from baby boomers will however be offset by the declining number of young couples using caravan parks for holidays. The number of young couples using caravan parks is expected to continue declining as young couples take advantage of cheap airfares and affordable international holidays. 3.2 Long Term Long term caravan parks have experienced a significant decline in the past five years with the market contracting by 13.4%. A continuation in the decline of the number of long term caravan parks is expected as the land is progressively converted for other purposes reflecting the often premium coastal or regional locations. Revenue from long term guests nevertheless has increased by 3.9%, in the twelve months to March 2010 as capacity and tariffs have increased as a consequence of the improved standard of accommodation

8 4 Parks Market Operation 4.1 Revenue Accommodation rents are the primary source of revenue for caravan park establishments with supplementary revenue from the sale of food and beverages. The development of higher quality facilities has allowed caravan park operators to increase tariffs. 4.2 Expenses Fixed expenses account for a significant proportion of caravan park operating expenses. Fixed costs include wages, rates, insurance, marketing and lease of cabins. Variable expenses include maintenance, security and power and water usage and will fluctuate as a direct consequence of changes in occupancy rates. Table 4 shows the operating expenses breakdown for caravan parks and the tourism accommodation sector. Table 4 - Operating Expenses Breakdown for Caravan Parks and Tourism Accommodation Sector Caravan Parks Tourism Accommodation (%) (%) Profit Rent Utilities Depreciation Miscellaneous Wages Purchases Source: IBIS Despite wages accounting for 16.7% of caravan parks expenses, this may be underestimated as owner operated caravan parks generally do not fully incorporate the owner s labour costs which are normally material. 4.3 Yield Freehold and leasehold caravan parks operated by major institutions can achieve yields of 9% - 10% and 14% - 15% respectively. This excludes the institutional operators expenses which can be equivalent to 2% of the caravan park profit. Institutional operators with a 2:1 ratio of freehold to leasehold properties in their caravan park portfolio can reasonably achieve a net distributable yield of 8.5% given capitalisation rates in the order of 9% - 10% for freehold caravan parks and 14% to 17% for leasehold caravan parks. (see Appendix A for the caravan park valuation model assumptions) - 7 -

9 5 Parks Market Fundamentals 5.1 Demand The level of household income is a key driver of the performance of caravan parks. In periods of rising household incomes when the economy is growing, the sentiment of consumers will be buoyant. The increase in consumer sentiment will allow families to feel more secure to take holidays and travel. This however is a relative phenomenon as the increased wealth effect may not necessarily encourage families to use caravan parks as a holiday destination. Chart 3 shows the annual increase in household weekly wages for 10 years to 31 March 2010 and caravan park revenue growth. Chart 3 Weekly Earnings Growth and Caravan Park Revenue Growth 10 years to 31 March % 14% 6% Avg Weekly Earnings Revenue Growth 12% Wages Growth (%) 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% -2% Revenue GRowth (%) 0% -4% Mar-01 Mar-02 Mar-03 Mar-04 Mar-05 Mar-06 Mar-07 Mar-08 Mar-09 Mar-10 Source: IBIS and RBA Average weekly earnings and revenue growth have been rising in the last nine years, although revenue growth has been somewhat volatile. Other demand factors include: demographics (baby boomers ( grey nomads ) and families on a budget holiday are two socio-economic groups over-represented in the demographic profile of caravan park users; employment (as a driver of sentiment); cost of fuel (as an inhibitor to long distance motor vehicle travel); and the cost of air travel (higher air travel costs would encourage road travel as a viable alternative). 5.2 Supply The prime location of many caravan parks has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of parks. The increase in land values, especially residential and other tourism zoned land has resulted in increased redevelopment of caravan parks for other higher value uses. Furthermore the decline in visitors due to cheap air travel and changing demographics and preferences has prompted the closure of less profitable caravan parks

10 Chart 4 shows the rate of decline in caravan park establishments. Chart 4 Rate of Decline in Caravan Parks Establishments 10 years to 31 March % Decline in Establishments Rate of Decline in Establishments 3% 2% 1% 0% Source: IBIS In response to the declining number of caravan park establishments, State governments have taken different initiatives designed to encourage investment and development of caravan parks. Land release and reducing the hurdles for development approval are required in order to reverse the trend of declining number of caravan parks. Table 5 The Number of Different Caravan Accommodation Types as at 31 March 2010 On-site vans Other powered sites Unpowered sites Cabins, flats, units and villas ('000) ('000) ('000) ('000) New South Wales Victoria Queensland Western Australia South Australia Northern Territory Australia Source: ABS Accommodation facilities at caravan parks are changing with a significant increase in construction of cabins, flats, units and villas in caravan parks. This has seen a decrease in the other accommodation facilities over the 10 years. Caravan park operators with higher quality accommodation facilities can charge a higher tariff thereby increasing investment returns

11 6 Peer Analysis Ownership in the caravan park market is highly fragmented with primarily small owner operated business and a few institutional investors. The largest owner operated caravan park business is Discovery Holiday Parks which is an investment trust operated by Beston Pacific Asset Management. The trust accounted for 9.7% of the total industry revenue in 2008 with 32 caravan parks. A number of large marketing group alliances operate in the industry linking some of the owner operated caravan park businesses. The Big 4 Holiday Parks of Australia is one of the largest marketing groups in the industry with 170 member parks accounting for 10.3% of caravan park establishments. The Top Tourist Park of Australia is the second largest marketing group accounting for 5.0% of caravan park establishments. Discovery Holiday Parks has alliances with three of the big marketing groups. We understand that there exist approximately 180 of such groups. 7 Market Performance The caravan park industry has experienced an increase in revenue through higher tariffs however operational costs have also increased. Table 6 shows the returns of caravan parks and other direct property asset classes over 5 years as at 31 March Table 6 Performance of Caravan Parks and Australian Unlisted Property over 5 years as at 31 March 2010 Income Return Capital Return Total Return (% p.a.) (% p.a.) (% p.a.) Caravan Parks* Australian Unlisted Property Source: Atchison Consultants, PCA/IPD *is a representative return from an analysis of Aspen Group and Mirvac unlisted property trusts Caravan Parks had a higher income and capital return than Australian unlisted property in the past 5 years

12 Appendix A Caravan Park Returns Model Assumptions Expense ratios and performance benchmarks vary widely to the point of being practically site specific and are therefore very difficult to generalise making industry averages meaningful only in certain applications To estimate the income yield achievable by caravan parks the following assumptions have been made: 1) Caravan park ratio of expenses to revenue is essential in the assessment of value in an operating business and is subject to manual adjustment of Profit & Loss items on an individual basis. This ratio is assumed to be 55% for parks with a tourist style orientation and 40% for parks with a higher proportion of permanent residences on residential site agreements. The expense to revenue ratio and other metrics and performance benchmarks are influenced heavily by several factors including: a) Size of park as demonstrated by number of sites, the larger sites permitting significant economies of scale; b) The proportion of tourist or permanent resident orientation, the latter generally associated with lower expenses; c) Quality as demonstrated by star rating; d) Average length of stay per visitor; e) Occupancy which experiences seasonal fluctuations; f) Proportion of unpowered/powered/cabin accommodation; g) On-site facilities; h) Proportion of revenue withdrawn by manager as salary; i) Degree of commitment to repairs and maintenance; j) Operating structure of the business. 2) The total wages expense is assumed for the purposes of modelling to be 17.5% of revenue. Inside this, management wages are assumed to be 9.1%. 3) Capital expenditure is assumed to be 2.5% of revenue 4) Repairs and maintenance expenditure, which is understood to fall generally within the range of 4% to 7% is assumed to be 5.5% 5) Ground rent which applies only to parks occupied under a leasehold structure at 4% of revenue per annum. It is assumed for the purposes of modelling that properties in the portfolio are held in the proportion of one leasehold park to two freehold parks each with identical revenue income, although with different values refer item (7) below 6) The fund does not employ gearing at fund or property level. However, modelling indicates that a gearing ratio of 30% at a base rate of 5.2% (based on a ten year average) and a margin of 400 basis points yields an increase of indicative yield of 60 basis points on these assumptions. 7) Freehold and leasehold caravan parks are assumed to have capitalisation rate ranges of 9% - 10% for freehold sites and 14% to 17% for leasehold sites. For the purposes of this model, freehold sites are assumed to be acquired at 9.25% (given the target of acquisition of parks in the top 25% by quality) and 14.75% for leasehold sites; 8) The sites are sold unencumbered. It is common for park businesses to have outstanding lease agreements in place for items such as cabins or other equipment,

13 however it is assumed that these obligations are extinguished by the vendor prior to settlement. 9) Industry protocol dictates that cabins are considered chattels rather than forming an integral part of the land as per normal building improvements. Any loans taken secured over these chattels (rather than the underlying land for whatever reason) would normally attract a higher rate of interest than over land and buildings in the traditional fashion. 10) These assumptions are drawn from: a) a review of a number of valuations of caravan parks deemed reasonably representative of the type of park likely to be included in the proposed fund including a follow-up discussion with a valuer experienced in the field of caravan park valuations; b) a report by IBIS World dated May 2010 entitled Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds in Australia c) Australian Bureau of Statistics data d) Statistics provided by CRVA e) a report by CRVA dated July 2008 entitled The Caravan and Park Industry Report f) Discussions with Ken Buckley, an acknowledged expert in caravan parks in Australia g) A number of trading Profit & Loss accounts of operating caravan parks as supplied by Ken Buckley 11) Institutional caravan park operators operate on a management expense ratio (effectively a management fee) of 2% paid from distributable funds

14 Appendix B Industry Expert Report: Cape Parks Fund Atchison Consultants undertook the following research and analysis to assess the achievability of a distributable yield of 8.5% p.a. after a 2% management fee for the proposed Cape Parks Fund. To estimate the income yield achievable by caravan parks the following assumptions are made: 1 The ratio of expenses to revenue is essential in the assessment of value in an operating caravan park business. The ratio is assumed to be 55% for parks with a tourist style orientation and 40% for parks with a higher proportion of permanent residences on residential site agreements. Expense ratios and performance benchmarks vary widely across operators. In preparing this estimate of the income yield achievable by caravan parks, a number of assumptions have been made, including: 1.1 The total wages expense is assumed for the purposes of estimation to be 17.5% of revenue. Inside this, management wages are assumed to be 9.1%. 1.2 Capital expenditure is assumed to be 2.5% of revenue 1.3 Repairs and maintenance expenditure, which fall within the range of 4% to 7% is assumed to be 5.5% 1.4 Ground rent which applies only to parks occupied under a leasehold structure at 4% of revenue per annum. 1.5 The fund does not employ gearing at fund or property level. 1.6 The sites are sold unencumbered. It is common for park businesses to have outstanding lease agreements in place for items such as cabins or other equipment, however given the industry practice it is assumed that these obligations are extinguished by the vendor prior to settlement. 1.7 Cabins are considered chattels in accordance with industry protocol rather than forming an integral part of the land. 2 Freehold and leasehold caravan parks are assumed to have capitalisation rate ranges of 9% - 10% for freehold sites and 14% to 17% for leasehold sites. For the purposes of this estimate, freehold sites are assumed to be acquired at 9.25% (given the target of acquisition of parks in the top 25% by quality) and 14.75% for leasehold sites; 3 Institutional caravan park operators operate on a management expense ratio (effectively a management fee) of 2% paid from distributable funds. On the basis of the research and analysis undertaken for the purpose of this proposed fund, Atchison Consultants believes it is not unreasonable given that assumed capitalisation rates in the order of 9% - 10% for freehold caravan parks and 14% to 17% for leasehold caravan parks, that a distributable yield after a 2% fee to the manager could be in the order of 8.5%, given due and proper care and effective management by the Responsible Entity in accordance with their obligations, appropriate property selection and management by the fund manager and that a 2:1 ratio of freehold to leasehold properties are held in the fund

15 No evaluation has been undertaken by Atchison Consultants of the capacity of the fund manager to execute the fund strategy and thus no comment is made in this regard, nor does Atchison Consultants comment on the merit or otherwise of this fund as an investment. These assumptions should be read conjunction with the statement of warning and disclosure attached herein. STATEMENT OF WARNING AND DISCLOSURE Atchison Consultants Financial Services Guide has been provided to Cape Funds Pty Ltd. Retail investors may obtain this directly from Atchison Consultants using the contact details below. The Financial Services Guide is designed to assist retail investors in their use of any financial product advice in this Report. Warning (General Advice Only): This report is prepared for Cape Funds Pty Ltd. The report contains information, analysis and may contain recommendations and advice of a general nature and does not have regard to the particular circumstances or needs of any specific person who may read it. Investors should assess either personally or with the assistance of a licensed financial adviser whether the Atchison Consultants analysis or conclusions or any advice implied or otherwise is appropriate to their situation before making any investment decision. The information contained in the report is believed to be reliable, but its completeness and accuracy is not guaranteed. Opinions expressed may change without notice. Atchison Consultants does not accept any liability, whether direct or indirect arising from the use of information contained in this report. No part of this report is to be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any investment. Atchison Consultants does not accept any responsibility to inform you of any matter that subsequently comes to its notice, which may affect any of the information contained in this report. The performance of the investment in this report is not a representation as to future performance or likely return. Atchison Consultants does not, in preparing this report, either expressly or by implication endorse or recommend a decision to invest in or not invest in the Fund. Atchison Consultants does not make any comment regarding the capacity of the Manager or Responsibility Entity nor can it give any assurances or guarantees regarding the future success or performance of this or any other Fund. Disclosure (Commissioned Research): Atchison Consultants has received a fixed fee, established prior to commencement of work, plus any travel expenses from Cape Funds Pty Ltd for the preparation of this report. Atchison Consultants applies a strict and rigorous process for the production of research reports and has no direct or indirect interest in the success or otherwise of this investment or its promoters. ATCHISON CONSULTANTS Atchison Consultants was established in 2001 by Ken Atchison and consists of a team of investment professionals with extensive experience in all aspects of financial markets

16 The principal focus of the business is the provision of advice and analysis across all components of managing investment portfolios by financial institutions, superannuation and insurance funds and investment managers. Primarily this involves property, or real estate, investments and related mortgage investments. Atchison Consultants services and capabilities cover two distinct areas being asset consulting and investment management consulting. Licence TAG Asset Consulting Group Pty Ltd (ABN ), trading as Atchison Consultants, is the holder of Australian Financial Services Licence Number Contact Details Atchison Consultants Address: Level 3, 155 Queen Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Phone: Mobile: Fax: Website:

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