Property For Industry boosts annual profit 50% after merger with Direct Property
By Suze Metherell
Feb. 17 (BusinessDesk) – Property For Industry, which increased its portfolio by two thirds after a merger with Direct Property Fund last year, said annual profit rose 50 percent as it benefited from an increased rental flow while keeping expenses in check.
Net profit was $40.5 million for the year ended Dec. 31, from $26.9 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Rental income jumped 64 percent to $47.9 million as the Direct Property merger lifted properties under management to 83 from 50.
New Zealand’s only listed company specialising in industrial property increased its average lease term by 0.8 years to 5.3 years, while occupancy rates were little changed at about 97 percent. Property For Industry said its largest vacant property only represents 1.4 percent of contract rent.
The company said distributable profit, the earnings measure it uses to determine dividend payments, rose 60 percent to $23.3 million from a year earlier, and earnings per share were up 9.3 percent to 7.2 cents.
Property For Industry will pay a fourth-quarter dividend of 2.01 cents a share, making 7.2 cents for the year. It has a payout ratio range of 95 percent to 100 percent, adjusted from its 100 percent ratio previously.
The industrial landlord announced earlier this year that Direct Property Investors could participate in its suspended dividend reinvestment scheme, if and when the freeze is lifted.
Operating expenses rose 74 percent to $21.1 million, though the ratio of expenses to revenue was unchanged at 41 percent.
The fifth largest listed property company on the NZX said the outlook remains positive, and it will continue to focus on the disposal of non-core properties. It didn’t give specific guidance.
The shares last traded at $1.27, and have gained 2.8 percent over the past 12 months.