SINGAPORE (July 29): The manager of Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust (MNACT) has declared a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.950 cents for 1Q19/20 ended June, up 3.7% from last year.

Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust Management (MNACTM) says MNACT’s gross revenue for 1Q19/20 rose 11.1% to $104.9 million.

The year-on-year improvement was primarily due to higher rental income from Festival Walk, Gateway Plaza and Sandhill Plaza, and the higher average rate of HKD offset by lower average rate of RMB.

Festival Walk recorded a steady performance in 1Q19/20, with gross revenue and NPI increasing by 6.5% and 6.6% respectively from a year ago.

For Gateway Plaza, gross revenue and NPI for 1Q19/20 were 4.0% and 4.1% lower respectively mainly due to a lower average rate of RMB against SGD.

While the average rental rate during 1Q19/20 increased for Sandhill Plaza, lower average occupancy and the weaker average rate of RMB against SGD resulted in lower gross revenue and NPI by 2.4% and 2.0% respectively in 1Q19/20.

MNACT’s properties in Japan contributed $12.6 million and $9.7 million to gross revenue and NPI respectively for 1Q19/20.

Property operating expenses increased 12.6% to $19.8 million for 1Q19/20 due to full quarter contribution from the Japanese properties and higher average rate of HKD offset by lower average rate of RMB.

Net property income (NPI) grew 10.7% to $85.0 million compared to 1Q18/19 while distributable income rose 9.3% to $62.0 million from a year ago.

As of June 30, aggregate leverage ratio was slightly higher at 36.9% compared to March 30 while the interest cover ratio for 1Q19/20 improved slightly to 4.4 times, compared to 4.3 times for 4Q18/19.

In its outlook, MNACTM says it is closely monitoring the protests in Hong Kong, which started in the middle of last month and have continued into this month.

In China, it expects tenants to remain cautious towards lease renewals and expansion plans amid macro market uncertainties.

Meanwhile, demand for office space in Tokyo remained steady despite a more cautious business outlook.

Units in MNACT closed 3 cents lower at $1.38 on Monday.