SINGAPORE (Aug 4): Ascendas Hospitality Trust (A-HTrust) posted a 0.8% rise in distribution per stapled security (DPS) of 1.29 cents for the 1Q17 ended June compared to 1.28 cents in the same period of last year.

Gross revenue for 1Q17 declined marginally by 0.8% to $52.4 million mainly due to weaker Australian Dollar and Renminbi against the Singapore Dollar, partially offset by the strengthening of Japanese Yen against SGD.

Net property income came in at $22.6 million, an increase of 5.5% from a year ago mainly attributable to higher contribution from Hotel Sunroute Osaka Namba despite lower gross revenue.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at $63.9 million as at end June.

Portfolio occupancy rate for the Trust’s Australia properties fell slightly to 81.3%, while the occupancy rate for China properties rose 3.6% to 86.5%.

The trust’s gearing ratio stood at 33.2% as at end June, with approximately 90.5% of the REIT’s interest rate risk exposure hedged.

Looking ahead, the manager of A-HTrust says that the accommodation business in Brisbane is likely to remain soft due to continued supply of new hotel rooms in Brisbane. In Beijing, it expects the hotel market to be supported by domestic travel and an expansion of the Beijing railway network.

In Singapore, the manager expects performance to be affected by weakness in corporate demand compounded by the increased competition from the supply of new hotel rooms.

While the manager expects outlook for the Japanese market to remain positive in the near term, the recent appreciation trend of JPY may affect travelling sentiments and discourage inbound travelling to the country.

Units of Ascendas Hospitality Trust closed 0.7% higher at 74.5 cents.