Rentals lift SPH Reit's full-year DPU to 5.5 cents

SPH Reit Management CEO Susan Leng (left), pictured with chief financial officer and head of investor relations Soon Suet Har, told a media briefing yesterday that the firm is continually revitalising the tenant mix of its malls and has carried out r
SPH Reit Management CEO Susan Leng (left), pictured with chief financial officer and head of investor relations Soon Suet Har, told a media briefing yesterday that the firm is continually revitalising the tenant mix of its malls and has carried out refurbishments to ensure they continue to turn in a steady performance.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Distributable income for the year rises 1.8% to $141.1 million despite modest retail outlook

Higher rental income from Paragon shopping centre and The Clementi Mall helped lift SPH Reit's full-year distribution for the year.

Despite the slowing economy and modest retail outlook, the real estate investment trust (Reit) said both its properties remained resilient amid ongoing refurbishment work and moves to revitalise the tenant mix.

The Reit reported a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.41 cents for the fourth quarter, up 1.4 per cent over the same period a year ago. This will be paid out on Nov 16.

The aggregate DPU for the full year to Aug 31 was 5.5 cents. Net asset value per unit was 94 cents.

Net property income for the year was $160.9 million, up 3.4 per cent from a year earlier because of higher gross revenue as well as lower operating expenses.

Distributable income for the year increased 1.8 per cent to $141.1 million.

The Reit manager said both properties reported positive rental reversion and maintained full occupancy.

Paragon recorded a rental uplift of 5.2 per cent for new and renewed leases in the financial year, while The Clementi Mall recorded positive rental reversion of 7.8 per cent.

However, visitor traffic at both malls dipped - by 2.5 per cent at Paragon to 18.3 million, while The Clementi Mall saw visitor numbers fall 2.4 per cent to 30 million, compared with the previous 12 months.

Tenant sales at Paragon were marginally higher at $661 million, while tenants at The Clementi Mall logged a 1.4 per cent slide in sales to $239 million.

SPH Reit Management chief executive Susan Leng told a briefing yesterday that the outlook for retailers remains "patchy" and sales are unlikely to pick up strongly in the near future.

She added that the firm is continually revitalising the tenant mix and has carried out refurbishments to ensure the malls continue to turn in a steady performance.

For instance, a new elevated pedestrian linkway between Paragon and the Cairnhill redevelopment project is expected to boost footfall and has also created opportunities for existing tenants Metro and Marks & Spencer to enhance their shopfronts.

The Air Handling Unit decanting project at Paragon has also resulted in newly created net lettable area, which will be let to Emporio Armani and Greyhound Cafe.

Meanwhile, The Clementi Mall's basement 1 reconfiguration project will increase the number of food kiosks from 14 to 21 units. All units have been committed ahead of time.

Said Ms Leng: "We need to work much harder... Motivating people to come to the mall is one thing. We also need to motivate them to spend. The (mall experience) is something we will continue to work on, (even small things like the air-conditioning and escalators)."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'Rentals lift SPH Reit's full-year DPU to 5.5 cents'. Print Edition | Subscribe