Higher earnings from VivoCity and Bank of America Merrill Lynch HarbourFront (MLHF) boosted second-quarter results at Mapletree Commercial Trust.
The trust yesterday posted a 3.3 per cent rise in distributable income to $42.8 million for the three months to Sept 30.
For the first half year, distributable income was also up, rising 3.6 per cent to $85.3 million.
Distribution per unit (DPU) rose 2.5 per cent to 2.02 cents for the quarter, and was 2.8 per cent higher at 4.03 cents for the first half.
Ms Sharon Lim, chief executive officer of the trust's manager, said in a statement that the growth came despite headwinds in both retail and office sectors.
"Operating expenses came in at 7.6 per cent lower than the same period last year as the benefits of our efforts in cost management and improving operational efficiency continued into this financial year."
The reduction in property operating expenses was largely from lower utilities expenses.
Gross revenue was 1.9 per cent higher at $71.3 million for the quarter and up 1.7 per cent to $141 million for the first half.
Net property income rose 5.1 per cent to $54.8 million for the quarter and rose 5.1 per cent to $109.1 million for the first half.
Shopper traffic and tenant sales at VivoCity recovered in the second quarter, reversing declines seen in the first quarter.
Shopper traffic rose 3.1 per cent while tenant sales rose 5.5 per cent year on year.
But for the first half, shopper traffic still fell 1.9 per cent to 26.6 million though tenant sales rose 1.6 per cent to $444.5 million.
Revenue for VivoCity was $2 million higher in the second quarter compared with a year ago, thanks to higher rental income for new and replacement leases, including contribution from newly created space at Basement 1; as well as the effects of step-up rents in existing leases.
Revenue for Mapletree Anson was, however, $1 million lower owing to lower occupancy.
The portfolio occupancy rate as at Sept 30 was 96.6 per cent, up from 95.7 per cent as at March 31. But it was still weaker than the 98.2 per cent as at March 31 last year.
Net asset value per unit was unchanged at $1.24 as at Sept 30 compared with the value as at March 31.
The trust's manager noted "prolonged wariness among retailers", with issues of manpower constraints, weaker retail sales and business costs continuing to weigh on their decision making.
At the same time, office demand has eased quarter on quarter on the back of a slowing economy.