SINGAPORE (May 6): Bowsprit Capital Corporation, the manager of First Real Estate Investment Trust (First REIT), has reported a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.86 cents for the 1Q2020 ended March, down 13.5% y-o-y, as the REIT’s unit base has grown bigger.

The manager of the REIT will be adopting semi-annual reporting with effect from FY2020 ending December. However, quarterly distributions will still be continued.

For the quarter under review, First REIT reported rental income of $28.9 million, 0.8% up y-o-y, and net property and other income at $28.2 million, 0.6% up y-o-y. The increase was mainly contributed by higher variable rent component for the REIT’s Indonesia properties.

Distributable income for the period was down 6.7% y-o-y to $15.9 million. First REIT has also retained $1.0 million of its capital distributions to see it through any potential challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While First REIT’s healthcare assets in Singapore and overseas remain operational, its malls in Indonesia were closed in April due to strict pandemic measures, with the exception of essential service stores such as supermarkets, pharmacies, and clinics.

In its outlook, manager Bowsprit says they are expecting to feel a bigger impact arising from Covid-19 in the second quarter due to large-scale social restrictions imposed by the Indonesian government in March.

The manager of the REIT says it has taken a prudent approach to conserve cash and initiate stringent cost management strategies to navigate these uncertain times.

On Wednesday, May 6, First REIT shares closed at 80 cents, up 1.9% for the day.