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JSE-listed Capital & Regional considers resuming dividends later this year

Capital & Regional, the UK convenience, and community-focused shopping centre real estate investment trust (Reit), yesterday said it saw positive operational momentum with a solid performance over the festive trading period, as it considers resuming dividend payments later this year. Photo: James White

Capital & Regional, the UK convenience, and community-focused shopping centre real estate investment trust (Reit), yesterday said it saw positive operational momentum with a solid performance over the festive trading period, as it considers resuming dividend payments later this year. Photo: James White

Published Jan 18, 2022

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Capital & Regional, the UK convenience, and community-focused shopping centre real estate investment trust (Reit), yesterday said it saw positive operational momentum with a solid performance over the festive trading period, as it considers resuming dividend payments later this year.

The JSE-listed company issued an update on its trading and rent collections.

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The Reit said it would provide further details when the group announced its results for the year ended December 30, 2021, on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.

Capital & Regional chief executive Lawrence Hutchings said: “Our Community Shopping Centres have continued to see positive operational momentum with a solid performance over the Christmas trading period.

“Footfall continues to significantly outperform the national index while leasing activity and occupancy were maintained, which is a credit to our teams and further reinforces our role in providing essential, non-discretionary goods and services to the communities we serve”.

Rent collection continued to trend towards more normalised levels with only those less well capitalised and most impacted tenants requiring assistance.

“Following our Refocus, Restructure and Recapitalisation initiative in November, we have completed the disposal of an office block in Maidstone and passed further key milestones on the Walthamstow residential development.

“In combination, these initiatives will further reduce leverage by approximately 300 basis points,” he said.

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Hutchings said there was a chance that the company would reinstitute dividend payments later this year.

“The planned disposals, together with further evidence of a stabilisation in our capital values and recovery in retail investment markets, should keep us on track to reinstate dividend payments in the second half of 2022 and further demonstrate our prudent and disciplined approach to balance sheet management,” he said.

December footfall increased 33 percent in 2020 outperforming the national index by 13 percent and representing approximately 74 percent of footfall for the equivalent period in 2019.

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“The trend towards higher average transaction values continued through the Christmas period, resulting in sales typically being significantly stronger than footfall. In total we had 47.6 million visits across the portfolio in 2021, outperforming the national index by 6 percentage points and 9 percent ahead of 2020,” the company said.

According to the Reit, in the three months to the end of December 2021, it completed a further 34 new letting renewals for a combined value of £1.5 million (R31.48m), which is in aggregate above the previous rent and estimated rental value.

Regarding the rent for the 2021 financial year, it received or agreed on formal payment plans for 91 percent of the rent billed, an improvement of 3 percent since it updated the market in November 2021.

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“This encompasses the rent billed, based on the contractual obligations as set out in leases and licence agreements, on or since the December 25, 2020, quarter date up until, but not including, December, 25”, the company said.

It also said the firm has achieved a further development milestone, with the confirmation of an unchallenged planning consent for the 538-apartment residential development at Walthamstow following the expiry of the statutory Judicial Review period at the end of 2021.

[email protected]

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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