Custodian REIT plc (CREI)
4 November 2021
Custodian REIT plc
("Custodian REIT" or "the Company")
Unaudited net asset value as at 30 September 2021 and increase in target dividend
Custodian REIT (LSE: CREI), the UK commercial real estate investment company focused on smaller lot-sizes, today reports its unaudited net asset value ("NAV") as at 30 September 2021, highlights for the period from 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021 ("the Period") and dividend update.
1 Profit after tax excluding net gains or losses on investment property divided by weighted average number of shares in issue.
2 NAV per share movement including dividends paid during the Period.
3 Gross borrowings less cash (excluding rent deposits) divided by portfolio valuation.
4 Before rent top-ups of £0.3m and acquisition costs of £0.8m.
5 Net of rent top-ups of £0.2m and disposal costs of £0.4m.
Net asset value
The unaudited NAV of the Company at 30 September 2021 was £445.9m, reflecting approximately 106.0p per share, an increase of 4.3p (4.2%) since 30 June 2021:
6 An interim dividend of 1.25p per share relating to the quarter ended 30 June 2021 was paid on 31 August 2021.
The NAV attributable to the ordinary shares of the Company is calculated under International Financial Reporting Standards and incorporates the independent portfolio valuation as at 30 September 2021 and net income for the Period. The movement in NAV reflects the payment of an interim dividend of 1.25p per share during the Period, but does not include any provision for the approved dividend of 1.25p per share for the Period to be paid on 30 November 2021.
Commenting on the market Richard Shepherd-Cross, Managing Director of Custodian Capital Limited (the Company's discretionary investment manager) said:
"The valuation movements by sector in the Custodian REIT property portfolio during the Period tell a story that is repeated across the market. Industrial and logistics assets continue to see strong demand from investors and occupiers. Occupier demand is driving rental growth, which is encouraging investors still further in their pricing. This virtuous circle appears to have some way to run, particularly amongst smaller regional properties, where inflationary pressures on construction costs, limited development and an ongoing excess of occupier demand over supply support continued rental growth.
"Pricing in the retail warehouse sector is recovering strongly as occupiers have proved resilient through the pandemic, with those in DIY, discounting, homewares and food all trading well. Where investors are confident that rental levels are sustainable, pricing has moved noticeably during the Period.
"Taking advantage of the strength and depth of demand in the industrial/logistics sector and the increasing demand for retail warehousing, we were delighted to conclude some opportunistic sales during the Period. We concluded the portfolio sale of seven industrial units which we felt did not meet our medium-term aspirations for rental growth or might require a level of capital expenditure that we would not recover in the valuation. As part of the sale, we agreed a delayed completion which enabled us to part-invest the expected proceeds in advance of completion, which has helped to reduce cash drag. We also sold, to a special purchaser, a B&Q retail warehouse in Galashiels 67% ahead of valuation. While this property would be considered a target property for Custodian REIT, we did not feel we would be able to achieve the upside delivered by the sale by holding the property, even over the long-term.
"To capitalise on the marginal yield achievable when buying smaller lot-size regional property, during the Period we acquired a distribution unit in Dundee and an office building in central Manchester and, since the Period end, a distribution unit in York for a combined sum of £11.1m at an aggregate net initial yield of c.6%. In all cases we believe there is strong rental growth potential over the short term.
"While challenges still remain in collecting all contractual rent I am hopeful that we will soon be able to cease reporting rent collection statistics as they continue to return towards pre-pandemic normality, with Custodian REIT collecting 94% of rent for the Period. Tenants appear to be looking to the future now and the number of conversations we are having with tenants regarding non-payment of rent has reduced noticeably."
94% of rent relating to the Period, net of contractual rent deferrals, has been collected as set out below:
Outstanding rental income remains the subject of discussion with various tenants, and some arrears are potentially at risk of non-recovery due to disruption caused by the earlier COVID-19 restrictions and from CVAs or Administrations.
During the Period the Company paid an interim dividend of 1.25p per share relating to the quarter ended 30 June 2021 which was fully covered by net cash collections and EPRA earnings.
The Board has approved an interim dividend per share of 1.25p for the Period which is fully covered by net cash receipts and 121% covered by EPRA earnings in line with the Board's current policy of paying dividends at a level broadly linked to net rental receipts.
In the absence of unforeseen circumstances and assuming rent collection levels remain in line with forecast, the Board intends to increase quarterly dividends per share to 1.375p from the quarter ending 31 December 2021 to achieve a target dividend7 per share for the year ending 31 March 2022 of at least 5.25p and for the year ending 31 March 2023 of at least 5.5p.
The Board's objective is to grow the dividend on a sustainable basis, at a rate which is fully covered by projected net rental income and does not inhibit the flexibility of the Company's investment strategy.
The quarterly interim dividend for the Period of 1.25p per share is payable on 30 November 2021 to shareholders on the register on 12 November 2021 and will be designated as a property income distribution ("PID").
7 This is a target only and not a profit forecast. There can be no assurance that the target can or will be met and it should not be taken as an indication of the Company's expected or actual future results. Accordingly, shareholders or potential investors in the Company should not place any reliance on this target in deciding whether or not to invest in the Company or assume that the Company will make any distributions at all and should decide for themselves whether or not the target dividend yield is reasonable or achievable.
The Company invested £8.15m in two acquisitions during the Period described below:
On 20 October 2021 the Company acquired a 29k sq ft industrial unit in York for £2.962m occupied by Menzies Distribution with a WAULT of 2.8 years and an annual passing rent of £186k, reflecting a NIY of 5.9%.
On 3 November 2021 the Company acquired 100% of the ordinary share capital of DRUM Income Plus REIT plc ("DRUM REIT"). Consideration for the acquisition of 20,247,040 new ordinary shares in the Company was calculated on an 'adjusted NAV-for-NAV basis', with each company's 30 June 2021 NAV being adjusted for respective acquisition costs with DRUM REIT's property portfolio valuation adjusted to the agreed purchase price of £43.5m. DRUM REIT's property portfolio at 30 September 2021 is summarised below:
Commenting on the acquisition Richard Shepherd-Cross said: "Drum REIT represented an excellent fit with Custodian REIT's investment policy, targeting smaller regional property with a strong income focus. The purchase price reflected a sufficient discount to DRUM REIT's NAV to be accretive to existing Custodian REIT shareholders and to provide DRUM REIT shareholders with an increase in like for like share price, as well as delivering them a growing dividend from a much larger specialist in the smaller regional property sector with much improved liquidity."
8 Passing rent divided by property valuation plus purchaser's costs.
9 ERV of portfolio divided by property valuation plus purchaser's costs.
Owning the right properties at the right time is a key element of effective property portfolio management, which necessarily involves periodically selling properties to balance the property portfolio. Custodian REIT is not a trading company but identifying opportunities to dispose of assets ahead of valuation or that no longer fit within the Company's investment strategy is important.
The Company sold the following properties during the Period for an aggregate consideration of £37.7m:
The Investment Manager has remained focused on active asset management during the Period, completing the following initiatives:
The positive impact of these asset management outcomes has been partially offset by the Administration of JTF Wholesale during the Period, which has resulted in the loss of £586k of annual rent (c.1.6% of the Company's rent roll) and resulted in EPRA occupancy10 decreasing from 92.4% at 30 June 2021 to 91.6%.
Commenting on JTF Wholesale's Administration, Richard Shepherd-Cross said: "While the short-term impact of an Administration is a hit to cash flow and valuation, the opportunity created by taking back control of this building in a prime distribution location, with the prospect of redeveloping the site to create a BREEAM 'Excellent' rated, high bay distribution unit should lead to a substantial net valuation uplift and also help meet the ESG objectives of Custodian REIT."
In line with the Company's ESG objectives, during the Period we completed a comprehensive refurbishment of an industrial unit in West Bromwich which involved installing six electric vehicle charging points, solar photovoltaic coverage to over 700 sq m of the roof area, air source heat pumps to provide heating and hot water, new energy efficient radiators and LED lights with passive infrared sensors. The refurbishment is expected to increase the EPC rating from C (69) to a high B, with the ERV of the property increasing from £280k pa (£4.80 per sq ft) to £345k pa (c.£6.00 per sq ft). Once re-let we expect the uplift in property valuation will be well in excess of the capital outlay for refurbishment.
We expect to commence the redevelopment of an industrial asset in Redditch to BREEAM 'Excellent' standard, once it becomes vacant in January 2022, with further initiatives planned as we continue to invest in our property portfolio to minimise its environmental impact and maximise shareholder value.
The portfolio's weighted average unexpired lease term to first break or expiry has been maintained at 5.0 years since 30 June 2021 with the impact of lease re-gears, new lettings and disposals offsetting the natural elapse of a quarter of a year due to the passage of time.
10 Estimated rental value ("ERV") of let property divided by total portfolio ERV.
The Company operates the following loan facilities:
Each facility has a discrete security pool, comprising a number of the Company's individual properties, over which the relevant lender has security and covenants:
The Company complied with all loan covenants during the Period.
The Company is in the process of charging £30.3m of property to replace charged assets sold during the Period which, once complete, will mean £153.4m (27% of the property portfolio at 30 September 2021) of unencumbered assets will be available to be charged to the security pools to enhance the LTV on individual loans if required.
Through the corporate acquisition of DRUM REIT since the Period end, the Custodian REIT group now also operates a £25m RCF facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland expiring on 30 September 2022 with interest of 1.75% above three-month LIBOR. The facility's key financial covenants comprise a maximum LTV of DRUM REIT's property portfolio of 50% and minimum historical interest cover of 250%.
At 30 September 2021 the Company's property portfolio comprised 152 assets with a NIY of 6.2% (30 June 2021: 6.4%). The portfolio is split between the main commercial property sectors, in line with the Company's objective to maintain a suitably balanced investment portfolio. Sector weightings are shown below:
11 Current passing rent plus ERV of vacant properties.
12 Comprises drive-through restaurants, car showrooms, trade counters, gymnasiums, restaurants and leisure units.
The Company operates a geographically diversified property portfolio across the UK, seeking to ensure that no one region represents more than 50% of portfolio income. The geographic analysis of the Company's portfolio at 30 September 2021 was as follows:
For details of all properties in the portfolio please see www.custodianreit.com/property-portfolio.
- Ends -
Further information regarding the Company can be found at the Company's website www.custodianreit.com or please contact:
Notes to Editors
Custodian REIT plc is a UK real estate investment trust, which listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange on 26 March 2014. Its portfolio comprises properties predominantly let to institutional grade tenants on long leases throughout the UK and is principally characterised by properties with individual values of less than £10m at acquisition.
The Company offers investors the opportunity to access a diversified portfolio of UK commercial real estate through a closed-ended fund. By principally targeting sub £10m lot-size, regional properties, the Company seeks to provide investors with an attractive level of income with the potential for capital growth.
Custodian Capital Limited is the discretionary investment manager of the Company.
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