Mapletree Commercial Trust's Q4 payout rises 2.4%

SINGAPORE - The generally slower retail market apparently did not faze Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT), as it announced increased earnings for the fourth quarter and year.

Distributable income of MCT rose 3.7 per cent year on year to $42.2 million for the fourth quarter, with gross revenue rising 3.5 per cent to about $71.0 million.

For the full year, distributable income was up 10 per cent to $168.3 million. Revenue rose 5.7 per cent to $282.5 million.

Revenue at VivoCity and PSA Building rose over the quarter due to higher rental income achieved for new and replacement leases, and the effects of the step-up rents in existing leases, its manager said.

"While VivoCity's shopper traffic declined marginally, tenant sales remained relatively resilient...Overall committed occupancy rate remained high at 99.5 per cent at March 31," it said.

Net lettable area was added to VivoCity over the year through an asset enhancement initiative and has been fully leased.

Across MCT's portfolio - which also includes office assets Mapletree Anson and Bank of America Merrill Lynch HarbourFront, occupancy was down to 95.7 per cent from 98.2 per cent a year back.

Distribution for the quarter was 2.0 cents, up from 1.953 cents a year back; while distribution for the year was 8 cents, up from 7.372 cents.

Net asset value per unit was $1.24 at March 31, up from $1.16 a year ago.

MCT said retail rents are likely to be under pressure for most sub-markets, and office rental growth is likely to remain "fairly flat."

"Barring any unexpected downside risks, MCT's retail and office properties are expected to remain relatively resilient," it said.