SPH Reit's DPU in Q1 down 13% to 1.2 cents

SINGAPORE • SPH Reit will issue a lower payout for the first quarter but it noted yesterday that business is slowly picking up after the hit it took from the pandemic.

Distribution per unit (DPU) came in at 1.2 cents for the three months to Nov 30 last year, down from 1.38 cents in the same period a year earlier.

The 13 per cent decline in DPU was "in line with the gradual Covid-19 recovery in both Singapore and Australia", said the manager in an interim business update on Wednesday.

Gross revenue rose by 10.8 per cent to $66.6 million.

Turnover was shored up by South Australia's Westfield Marion - acquired in December 2019 - and stable contributions from Figtree Grove in New South Wales.

On the other hand, the real estate investment trust's (Reit) Singapore assets saw a decline in gross revenue, attributed to rental relief for tenants affected by the pandemic. The flagship Paragon contributed $38.5 million to the top line, down from $44.2 million before.

Retail activity at Paragon remains affected by Singapore's border restrictions while Clementi Mall has taken a hit from work-from-home arrangements, the manager said.

Still, it added that footfall and tenant sales across its malls recovered during the year-end festive period.

Meanwhile, tenant sales at both Westfield Marion and Figtree Grove in Australia "are recovering steadily to near pre-Covid-19 levels", the manager noted.

SPH Reit had $1.3 billion in debt as at Nov 30 last year, up from $1.1 billion the year before.

The weighted average term to maturity was 2.7 years.

It is refinancing $215 million in loans maturing by July, while revolving credit facilities of $225 million remain available.

Portfolio occupancy stood at 97.9 per cent at the end of Nov 30 while weighted average lease expiry by net lettable area was 5.5 years.

The DPU, which includes 0.13 cent deferred from earlier income under Covid-19 relief measures, will be paid on Feb 26 while the books close next Thursday.

Units closed up 2.99 per cent to 86 cents yesterday.

THE BUSINESS TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2021, with the headline 'SPH Reit's DPU in Q1 down 13% to 1.2 cents'. Subscribe