Ascendas Reit H2 DPU falls 0.9% to 7.418 Singapore cents

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Ascendas Reit) distribution per unit (DPU) for its second half ended Dec 31, 2020, fell 0.9 per cent to 7.418 Singapore cents, from 7.485 Singapore cents in the year before, the Reit said in an exchange filing on Tuesday.

It reported a 12.5 per cent increase in gross revenue for its second half of S$528.2 million, up from S$469.4 million in the year ago period. Net property income rose 7.8 per cent to S$388.2 million in H2 2020, from S$360.2 million previously.

For the full year ended December, gross revenue rose 13.6 per cent year on year to S$1.05 billion.

The increase in revenue was mainly due to the full-year contribution by the portfolio of 28 business park properties in the United States (US) and two business park properties in Singapore, which were acquired in December 2019, the Reit manager said.

Also contributing to the higher gross revenue were a newly completed suburban office in Melbourne, Australia, as well as two office properties recently acquired in San Francisco.

The increased revenue was, however, partially offset by S$17.8 million in rental rebates given to tenants in FY2020 as part of the aid to help them through the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. There was also a fall in revenue from lower occupancies in certain properties during the year.

Net property income for the full year rose by 9.4 per cent year on year to S$776.2 million, in tandem with the increase in gross revenue. The total amount available for distribution in FY2020 rose 6.7 per cent to S$538.4 million, mainly due to contributions from newly acquired properties.

For the full year, Ascendas Reit's DPU fell 6.1 per cent to 14.688 Singapore cents, from 15.638 Singapore cents previously, partially due to the impact of Covid-19, the Reit manager said.

Excluding the one-off distribution of rollover adjustments from prior years, which amounted to S$7.8 million in H1 2019, DPU would have fallen by a lower 4.5 per cent year on year, the manager added.

William Tay, chief executive officer and executive director of the Reit manager, said in a statement: "Despite the challenging environment in 2020, I am pleased that Ascendas Reit delivered a resilient DPU of 14.688 cents."

He added that this was underpinned by "a diversified portfolio, with exposure in business park, logistics and high-specs segments across selected strong markets".

"We also seized the opportunity to secure over S$1.4 billion worth of accretive acquisitions in Singapore, Australia and the US to strengthen our portfolio," he said. "We will continue to develop and strengthen our business in 2021."

The Reit manager said portfolio occupancy rate held steady at 91.7 per cent as at Dec 31, 2020, and positive average rent reversion of 3.8 per cent was achieved for leases that were renewed during FY 2020.

Units of Ascendas Reit closed at S$3.10 on Tuesday, up S$0.03 or 1 per cent before the announcement.

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