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Investore first-half profit more than triples

Investore first-half profit more than triples on growth in rental income, lower finance costs

By Jonathan Underhill

Nov. 22 (BusinessDesk) - Investore Property, the property investor spun out of Stride Property last year, said first-half profit more than tripled as acquisitions boosted rental income and it benefited from lower finance costs.

Net profit was $11.6 million in the six months ended Sept. 30 from $2.3 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based property investor said in a statement. Net rental income rose to $22 million from $13.3 million.

Investore, which is managed by Stride Investment Management, invests in standalone large-format retail properties with major retailers as anchor tenants, including General Distributors (Countdown supermarkets), Foodstuffs, Mitre 10 and Warehouse Group, on long-term leases. This gives it "resilient and stable rental income" that can be "reliably forecast over the medium to long-term and is more resistant to changes in the wider market."

This month the company added Bunnings to its line-up after Stride sold it three Bunnings stores in in Rotorua, Hamilton and Palmerston North for $78.5 million after renegotiating the terms of the leases, which are for 12-year terms. The deal is subject to approval by Investore's shareholders.

As at Sept. 30, Investore's occupancy rate is 99.9 percent and its weighted average lease term (WALT) is 13.8 years (down from 14.3 years 12 months ago). It had 39 properties with 74 tenants with the total portfolio valued at $663 million. Significant lease maturities don't kick in until 2030 when 9.7 percent come due. A further 30 percent expire in 2033 and 35 percent in 2035. Its properties are spread throughout the country, with the biggest portion, 33 percent, in Auckland.

"These are very positive fundamentals on which to build for the future. As further investment opportunities arise, they will be evaluated and presented to the board," said Philip Littlewood, chief executive of Stride Investment Management.

Distributable profit rose by $3 million to $13.1 million and the company affirmed guidance for its annual cash dividend of 7.46 cents a share, with 1.86 cents declared for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

In a presentation released with the results, the company said it was planning to sell as many as three properties to strengthen its balance sheet and exploring capital management initiatives including a possible share buyback and a bond sale. As at Sept. 30, it had drawn down $261 million of its $370 million bank facility, which has a weighted maturity of 2.7 years and weighted average cost of debt of 4.47 percent.

Its bank loan-to-value ration stood at 39.4 percent, although that was to increase to 46 percent following the Bunnings acquisition, just inside its maximum 48 percent LVR.

The property investor was separated from Stride and listed on the NZX in July, with Stride retaining a 19.9 percent shareholding and the management contract to run the portfolio.

The shares last traded at $1.39, which is below last year's $1.49 offer price.



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