Frasers Centrepoint Trust reports 96.4% retail portfolio occupancy in Q1 FY21

FCT is one of the largest suburban retail mall owners in Singapore. PHOTO: FRASERS PROPERTY LIMITED

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - The manager of Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT) said on Thursday (Jan 21) that its performance for the final three months of 2020 remained resilient, with retail portfolio occupancy stable at 96.4 per cent.

In an exchange filing, it said total tenants' sales remained stable near pre-pandemic levels, falling 1.3 per cent year on year in December. At the peak of the pandemic in May, total tenant sales had fallen 57.1 per cent year on year.

Shopper traffic is at 60 to 70 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels, given the safe-distancing measures in place, it added.

Meanwhile, FCT renewed nearly a quarter of expiring leases which were due in financial year 2021 in this first quarter ended Dec 31, 2020, its manager said.

FCT's gearing level at end-December was to 37.7 per cent, compared with 35.9 per cent as of Sept 30.

It added that it extended its debt maturity to three years in Q1 FY21, compared with 2.1 years in the previous quarter, and reduced the cost of borrowing from 2.4 per cent to 2.2 per cent. Its total borrowings is over S$2.2 billion, compared with nearly S$1.3 billion in Q4 FY20.

In Q1, FCT also completed its acquisition of AsiaRetail Fund and significantly expanded its portfolio to near a doubling of its total assets, it said.

It also completed the divestment of Bedok Point on Nov 9 and announced the divestment of Anchorpoint for S$110 million on Dec 23.

Looking ahead, FCT's manager expects dominant suburban malls to remain resilient, with FCT well-positioned to "ride the omni-channel retailing trend".

"Post-Covid-19 trends include focus on well-being and healthy living products and services, higher demand for products and services that support 'work from home' and omni-channel retailing," it said.

FCT's portfolio of physical malls, its recently launched e-store and its enhanced app help to form a strong combination of physical and digital retail offerings, it said.

At the same time, the easing of measures in Phase 3, which allow for an increase in mall capacity and dining group size, is expected to be positive for retail performance, it said.

"The leasing environment remains challenging due to economic headwinds and retailer consolidation. However, the location, connectivity, dense catchment and essential positioning of FCT Malls accords dominance and resilience to their performance," said its manager.

FCT is one of the largest suburban retail mall owners in Singapore, operating malls such as Causeway Point, Tampines 1 and Tiong Bahru Plaza and Yew Tee Point.

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