Prologis: Behind the Scenes in E-Commerce

05/13/2020 5:00 am EST

Focus: REITS

Tony Sagami

Editor, Weiss Ratings LLC's Weiss Ultimate Portfolio

Thank goodness for online shopping. I’ve been able to order groceries, household supplies and even food from many of my favorite restaurants, asserts Tony Sagami, editor of Weiss Ratings' Daily Briefing.

Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without online shopping. And I’m not alone: Americans are shopping over the internet in massive waves.

As investors, there are huge implications and opportunities among the behind-the-scenes businesses that make it possible for our orders to show up on our front porch.

One part of the e-commerce food chain that I think is grossly overlooked by investors is logistics real estate — the warehouses, distribution facilities and fulfillment centers that temporarily house the goods you buy over the internet.

Whenever a retailer sells you something, it has to move its goods from point A to B and several warehouse points in between. With the rapid growth of e-commerce, it has equally increased the need for logistics real estate.

One company that owns more logistics real estate than anybody else is Prologis, Inc. (PLD). It owns 797 million square feet of prime warehouse distribution space that is specifically designed to temporarily hold and then transfer e-commerce orders to our homes.

Not to mention, they own 3,793 building across the globe and have 5,100 customers. Prologis practically owns this market in North America. With Amazon (AMZN), FedEx (FDX) and Walmart (WMT) as Prologis’ three largest tenants, that’s not too surprising.

And business is booming. Moreover, business is so good that Prologis is enjoying a 96%-plus occupancy rate and has been able to raise its rents by an average of 4.3% over the last year.

And there’s no question that the 797 million square feet (and growing) of distribution warehouses that Prologis owns is going to get more and more valuable as e-commerce grows.

Prologis is a REIT and must distribute at least 90% of its profits to shareholders. It currently pays a 53-cent quarterly dividend, and the next one will be paid at the end of June. That doesn’t mean you should rush out and buy Prologis stock tomorrow morning. Timing a trade is still important. However, it is definitely a stock with one of the brightest post-lockdown futures I’ve seen.

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