SINGAPORE (Oct 24): The manager of Ascott Residence Trust (Ascott REIT) has declared a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.69 cents for the 3Q ended September, down 28% from 2.35 cents a year ago.

However, adjusted for one-off items, rights issues and equity placement, DPU would have risen by 1% to 2.18 cents, compared to adjusted DPU of 2.15 cents a year ago.

The adjustment excludes one-off realised foreign exchange gain, the effects of rights issue in March 2017 to fund the acquisitions of Citadines City Centre Frankfurt, Citadines Michel Hamburg and Ascott Orchard Singapore, as well as equity placement in March 2016 to fund the acquisition of Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel in the US.

Revenue grew 2% to $126.9 million in 3Q17, from $123.9 million a year ago.

This was mainly contributed by the additional revenue of $4.9 million from acquisitions in 2017, partially offset by the decrease in revenue of $1.9 million from divestments.

On a same store basis, excluding the 2017 acquisitions and divestment, revenue remained at the same level as a year ago.

The group achieved a revenue per available unit (RevPAU) of $146 for 3Q17, an increase of 1% as compared to a year ago.

Gross profit grew 3% to $58.7 million, from $57.3 million a year ago.

Ascott REIT says it lowered its gearing to 31.9% as at end September as part of its proactive capital management strategy.

“Due to greater demand from leisure travellers, Belgium, Spain and United Kingdom are among our best-performing markets in 3Q 2017 with RevPAU increasing by 43%, 8% and 5% respectively,” says Beh Siew Kim, CEO of the manager.

“In Asia, RevPAU for the Philippines climbed 17% due to higher demand for the renovated Ascott Makati and Somerset Millennium Makati. RevPAU for Vietnam grew 8%, contributed by stronger corporate demand for the refurbished apartments at Somerset Ho Chi Minh City,” she adds.

Bob Tan, chairman of the manager, notes that Ascott REIT has made some $655.4 million worth of acquisitions this year.

“These acquisitions further diversify our portfolio across geographies and strengthen Ascott REIT’s position as the largest hospitality REIT with an asset size of $5.1 billion,” Tan says.

“We will continue to focus on delivering stable returns to unitholders by seeking accretive acquisitions. We are on the lookout for opportunities in key gateway cities,” he adds. “Our sponsor, The Ascott Limited, has been expanding its serviced residence portfolio globally. It allows Ascott to leverage economies of scale which will benefit our properties and build a pipeline of properties for Ascott REIT.”

Units of Ascott REIT closed 1.5 cents higher at $1.23 on Monday.