SINGAPORE (Feb 5): Manulife US Real Estate Investment Trust (Manulife US REIT) has announced distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.44 US cents for 4QFY2019 ended December, a 5.9% drop from DPU of 1.53 US cents in the corresponding period a year ago.

The decline was mainly attributable to an enlarged unit base as a result of a private placement and a preferential offering to help fund the acquisition of Capitol, a 29-storey Class A office building in Sacramento, California, which was acquired in October last year.

This brings DPU for FY2019 to 5.96 US cents, some 7% higher than DPU of 5.57 US cents a year ago.

4QFY2019 gross revenue climbed 20.4% to US$48.8 million on the back of contribution from Capitol and Centerpointe, which was acquired in May 2019.

Consequently, net property income for the quarter rose 18.9% to US$30.3 million.

Income available for distribution to unitholders jumped 15.5% to US$22.6 million for 4QFY2019.

As at Dec 31, 2019, the REIT’s nine high-quality Trophy/Class A office properties recorded a high occupancy rate of 95.8% and long WALE by NLA of 5.9 years.

About 445,200 sq ft of leases, or 9.5% of the portfolio’s leases by NLA, were executed in FY2019, with a positive rental reversion of 0.5% for the renewals. Approximately 54.4% of the portfolio’s leases by NLA will only expire in 2025 and beyond.

As at end December, cash and cash equivalents stood at US$60.7 million.

“2019 was the best year ever for Manulife US REIT,” says Jill Smith, chief executive officer of the manager. “Over the one-year period, we delivered a total shareholder return (TSR) of 42.1% and ranked 6th among the 40 REITs in Singapore by TSR.”

“Our strategic acquisitions of four high-quality office properties in strong US growth markets in the past two years not only diversified our NPI but also made a positive contribution to our growth,” she adds.

Smith also noted that more global funds have been attracted to Manulife US REIT following its entry into the FTSE EPRA Nareit Global Developed Index in December 2019. This, she says, will “promote stability” and enable “greater agility” in its growth strategy over the next decade.

“With our top 10 tenants made up of HQs or listed entities, combined with a long WALE of 5.9 years and high occupancy of 95.8%, we remain confident to ride through volatility in the global economy,” she says.

As at 9.24am, units in Manulife US REIT are trading 1 US cent lower at US$1.06.