SINGAPORE (Jan 31): Ascendas REIT saw its distribution per unit (DPU) slide 12.3% to 3.507 cents for 3QFY2019 ended December, from 3.998 cents.

This was mainly due to a 16.4% increase in the number of applicable units in issue due to the rights issue in December 2019.

3QFY2019 gross revenue rose 5.9% to $239.7 million, on the back of contributions from the portfolio of 28 properties in the US and two properties in Singapore acquired in December 2019, as well as liquidated damages in relation to the pre-termination of a lease in Australia.

Property operating expenses decreased by 1.6%, mainly due to the adoption of a new accounting standard.

Consequently, net property income climbed 8.5% to $182.3 million.

Total amount available for distribution increased by 2.1% to $126.9 million, from $124.3 million a year ago.

Ascendas REIT has changed its financial year end from end-March to end-December. Therefore, the current financial year is a nine-month period from Apr 1 to Dec 31, 2019.

DPU for FY2019 was 11.490 cents, some 3.3% lower than DPU of 11.887 cents in the corresponding nine-month period a year ago.

As at end-December, cash and cash equivalents stood at $54.6 million.

Overall portfolio occupancy rate remained stable at 90.9% as at Dec 31, 2019, with the portfolio’s weighted average lease expiry (WALE) at 3.9 years.

“Our maiden US acquisition was completed in December 2019, which lifted Ascendas REIT’s overseas exposure from 21% to 28% of portfolio value. Including the Singapore acquisitions (Nucleos and FM Global Centre), the portfolio is further strengthened with the business park segment accounting for 42% of the portfolio value, up from 33% a year ago,” says William Tay, chief executive officer and executive director of the manager.

“We will continue to invest in well-located properties that benefit from structural growth trends such as technology and e-commerce, and strengthen Ascendas REIT’s presence across its four developed markets to optimise portfolio returns,” he adds.

Units in Ascendas REIT closed 3 cents higher at $3.15 on Friday, before the results announcement.