Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lower third-quarter payout at Ascendas India

ASCENDAS India Trust has reported an 8 per cent drop in distributable income to $14.1 million in its third quarter.

As a result, its distribution per unit for the three months ended Dec 31 fell to 1.85 cents from 2.02 cents in the previous corresponding period.

Net property income was up 13 per cent at $19.3 million.

For the nine months to end-December, distribution per unit rose 5 per cent to 5.76 cents on the back of a 17 per cent jump in net property income to $56.8 million.

On an annualised basis, the distribution works out to a yield of 7.4 per cent against a closing price of $1.03 on the Singapore Exchange on Thursday.

Ascendas India, the first listed Indian property trust in Asia, manages four IT parks in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.

The occupancy rate of its portfolio of properties remains high, well above the rates of other similar properties in the vicinity.

Lauding its strong showing, Mr Jonathan Yap, chief executive of the trustee manager of Ascendas India, said: ‘Portfolio occupancy remained high at 97 per cent as at Dec 31, 2009, while tenant retention rate over the last nine months was 79 per cent.’

Those who did not renew gave Ascendas India an opportunity to introduce new tenants and refresh its tenant profile.

Low gearing, or debt to equity, level of 18.7 per cent also means that the trust has the flexibility of taking additional debts to fund future expansion.

Ascendas India said it may make acquisitions from the market or through two right-of-first-refusal arrangements.

Already on its drawing board are plans to develop new space on land that it owns totalling about 1.7 million sq ft, of which about 1.2 million sq ft are due for completion this year.

When fully completed, the 1.7 million sq ft of new space will increase its current 4.8 million sq ft of income-producing space by about 35 per cent.

As payouts to unit holders are made twice yearly, the third quarter’s distribution will be made at the same time as that in the fourth quarter.

Ascendas India units yesterday ended three cents higher at $1.06.

Source: Straits Times, 23 Jan 2010

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