First Reit delivers yet another record quarterly distribution to unitholders

SINGAPORE - First Real Estate Investment Trust (First Reit) has reported a 3.1 per cent rise in distribution per unit (DPU) to 2.02 cents for the third quarter ended Sept 30.

Net property income rose 7.9 per cent to $23.5 million while distribution to unitholders increased 6.1 per cent to $14.7 million.

Reit manager Bowsprit Capital Corporation said the trust, Singapore's first healthcare real estate investment trust with properties in Indonesia, Singapore and South Korea, delivered another record high dividend to investors for the quarter, and with full contribution from its latest acquisition, Siloam Hospital Purwakarta.

Bowsprit's chief executive officer Ronnie Tan said: "Despite this recent increase in portfolio value, the trust has managed to maintain our gearing below the 35 per cent limit.

"Going forward, we will continue to be prudent with our capital management and remain focused on maximising value to our unitholders."

On a nine-month basis, First Reit's gross revenue rose 14.7 per cent to $69.4 million, while net property income climbed by 16.7 per cent to $68.3 million.

Distributable income rose 13.5 per cent to $43.3 million.

Prospects for the future remain bright, with Mr Joko Widodo's victory at the recent Indonesian presidential elections seen as a boost for the Indonesian economy and in particular, the healthcare sector.

Reforms are expected to help Indonesia achieve longer-term growth and healthcare is a key area of focus, with the government's universal healthcare programme expected to be rolled out as planned, said Bowsprit.

First Reit continues to see strong opportunities in the Indonesian healthcare sector and will tap on its sponsor, Lippo Karawaci's strong pipeline for future acquisitions.

Lippo Karawaci currently owns 18 hospitals, with a pipeline of another 29 hospitals to which First REIT has the right-of-first-refusal for acquisitions.

In Singapore, to cope with the demand of the greying population, the Ministry of Health recently announced measures to raise the target number of nursing home beds to 17,150 by 2020.

These include running three to four of its own nursing homes as well as releasing land for new facilities and helping operators scale up more quickly.

First Reit will continue to look for yield-accretive healthcare assets to acquire in Indonesia, Singapore and other parts of Asia as part of its growth strategy.