File picture: James White
File picture: James White

Atlantic Leaf Properties says rent collection appears positive

By Edward West Time of article published Apr 29, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG -   Atlantic Leaf Properties, the UK-based REIT that focuses on commercial property assets in light-industrial and distribution nodes, said its first 2021 quarter’s rent collection was positive.

“We hope that the businesses that have been required to curtail operations during the lockdown will be able to recommence activities soon,” CEO Paul Leaf-Wright said Wednesday.

The company has released results for the year to end-February, which cover a period before the full impact of Covid-19.

Leaf-Wright said the cash position was strong at year end with 26 million pounds cash, and 1.6 million pounds of available facilities. Loan to value ratio was 40 percent, down from 48 percent last year.

Chief investment officer Shaun Fourie said they would continue to work with tenants to maximise rental collections, while also providing support to those tenants where it was needed. 

“The market should note that going forward there may well be greater uncertainty in the markets in which Atlantic Leaf operates. As a result, and consistent with many other companies, we will not be providing earnings guidance for the year ahead,” said Leaf-Wright.

He said however e believe that we are well positioned to deal with this period of uncertainty.”

The group performed in line expectations in the year to end-February, with a final distribution of 4.5 pence bringing the total for the year to 9 pence, versus 9.3 pence the year before.

Adjusted earnings per share was up 13 percent to 10.54 pence per share over the prior year.

Leaf-Wright said they continued to benefit from a strong tenant base, with only the Peterborough asset being vacant at year end. 

Rental revenue increased by 8 percent over the prior year. 

The disposal of the property in Runcorn in February 2020 was timely and realised a profit on sale of 4.3 million pounds. 

“The sale resulted in a pleasing internal rate of return of 16 percent over the time we held the asset and has significantly strengthened our cash position at an opportune time,” he said.

In 2021 the company would benefit from rent uplifts on the 28 properties leased to UK-wholesaler Booker. 

However, on the downside, there would be no income from the vacant portion of the Peterborough asset, until the refurbished space was re-let. 

“The plan is to commence with construction (estimated cost 3,3 million pounds) to subdivide the space into smaller lot sizes and secure tenants for the individual units. We have received good interest in the property, but the take up may be slower than we originally hoped for. We have estimated that occupation of the vacant space could commence from September 2020,” said Fourie.

BUSINESS REPORT 

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