Solid Q3 showing for Mapletree Industrial Trust

SINGAPORE - Higher rents and purchasing electricity in bulk helped lift third-quarter earnings for Mapletree Industrial Trust.

Distribution per unit (DPU) for the three months to Dec rose 6.4 per cent to 2.67 cents from the previous year, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

That was on the back of a 9 per cent climb in distributable income to $46 million from the preceding year.

Revenue rose 3.3 per cent to $78.1 million in the period.

Mr Tham Kuo Wei, chief executive of the trust manager, said that the better showing was largely due to higher rents upon lease renewal, revenue contribution from completed development projects and cost-saving initiatives.

The trust has started to work with licensed electricity retailers to buy electricity in bulk, resulting in lower utilities expenses, he said.

He added that the trust has taken steps to protect itself against rising interest rates.

Higher interest rates may make it more expensive for real estate investment trusts (Reits) to borrow money, and may also cause the market value of their properties to decline.

Mr Tham said that the trust's balance sheet remains robust, with 86 per cent of its $1.09 billion in gross borrowings hedged.

The average occupancy rate for the properties in its portfolio fell marginally from 91.5 per cent in the July through September period to 90.8 per cent in October through December.

The third-quarter DPU will be paid by March 5.

Mapletree Industrial Trust units rose 1.5 cents to close at $1.58 on Tuesday before its results announcement.