Capital & Regional pays dividend despite severe challenges
A final year dividend of 11pence (R2.16) per share was declared, which brought the pay-out for the year to 21p, slightly lower than 24.22p in 2018. The dividend pay-out was in spite of severe challenges in the UK retail property investment industry as a whole, which has been hurt by Brexit uncertainty and fast changing consumer retail trends.
Basic and European Public Real Estate Association net asset value per share, at 361p and 364p respectively, was well down from 596p and 591p, reflecting the fall in property valuations and IFRS loss of £121million (2018: Loss of £25.6m).
Chief executive Lawrence Hutchings said, however, “2019 was a critical year of progress. Having completed the transaction with Growthpoint in December 2019 (Growthpoint became a 51.1percent shareholder) - the business is on a sound footing”.
Capital & Regional would continue to roll out its community centre asset management strategy, he said.
“Once again our footfall outperformed the national index. Major lettings have been secured to Matalan and Pure Gym at Maidstone and in Luton. Since year-end, we have exchanged deals on 16000 square feet (1486.4m2) of vacant office space and agreed terms on a new supermarket into the scheme.”
Because of the pressure that sliding retail property valuations were placing on leverage, the group was actively realising value from alternative use and residential opportunities.
Soon after year-end, £5m had been received from the sale of non-core land at Wood Green, and a partner had been taken on for the residential plans at Walthamstow, which involved the development of 450 apartments and affordable houses, Hutchings said.
There were other opportunities for residential developments at the group’s other shopping centres, such as at Ilford, where a development the same size as at Walthamstow might be possible.
Capital & Regional shares rose 3.31percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R39.