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Custodian REIT reports "another successful period of positive shareholder returns"

Property market conditions restricted the REIT's ability to acquire properties that meet its strategy at a sufficient rate to satisfy the demand for new equity issuance; as a result, new issuance was limited which, in turn, saw the company's shares trade at a premium well ahead of most of its peers
Edge of town retail estate
"We generally feel comfortable that retail warehousing, with low rents per sq ft, 'big box' formats and free parking will be more robust than the High Street"

Custodian REIT PLC (LON:CREI) notched up a net asset value (NAV) total return of 4.3% in the six months to the end of September.

The gain represented an improvement on the 4.2% total return achieved in the corresponding period of 2017.

READ: Custodian REIT offers one of best yields in UK property

NAV at the end of September had risen to £427.5mln from £378.6mln a year earlier, equivalent to 108.6p per share (2017:104.9p). Shares in the real estate investment trust (REIT) currently trade at 115p.

The value of the portfolio at the end of September had risen to £547mln from £474.3mln the year before, partly as a result of £27.7mln invested in seven acquisitions, one refurbishment and one development.

Revenue in the first half of the REIT’s current fiscal year rose to £19.63mln from £16.71mln the year before.

Profit before tax increased to £16.61mln from £12.23mln.

Basic earnings per share (EPS) improved to 4.3p from 3.8p while using the European Public Real Estate (EPRA) definition, EPS rose to 3.5p from 3.4p.

As at the end of September, net gearing equated to 20.5% on a loan-to-value basis.

The REIT has already declared and paid a second-quarter dividend of 1.6375p and expects, barring unforeseen circumstances, to pay out full-year dividends of 6.55p, up from 6.45p the year before.

The company said the strength of the occupational market and softening yields for prime retail warehouse assets let to blue-chip tenants both represent exciting opportunities.

Rental growth at lease renewal and rent review remain robust. “We expect proactive asset management and rental growth will continue to drive performance in the portfolio and are confident we can maintain occupancy levels, which in turn will sustain our policy of paying a growing and fully-covered dividend to shareholders,” the company’s chairman, David Hunter, said.

Economies of scale

“We continue to target growth to realise the potential economies of scale offered by the company's relatively fixed administrative cost base and tiered annual management charge,” Hunter said.

"The board and investment manager are closely monitoring the potential impact of evolving trends in the UK retail industry and 'Brexit' on commercial property markets. Our role is to look beyond the media coverage to weigh up dispassionately the associated risks, which often create opportunity, and we expect proactive asset management will continue to drive performance in the portfolio, as rental growth at lease renewal or rent review remains robust. We also expect occupational demand, combined with a limited supply of new development, to maintain low vacancy rates across our regional portfolio,” Hunter said.

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Custodian REIT Timeline

CN Research
January 29 2019

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