SINGAPORE (April 12): The manager of Soilbuild Business Space REIT on Wednesday announced distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.489 cents for the first quarter ended March 31, 4.4% lower than DPU of 1.557 cents a year ago.

The manager has elected to pay the property management fee and to receive the lease management fee in cash for 1Q17. If these had remained payable in units, as was the case in 1Q16, DPU would have been 1.2% lower at 1.539 cents.

Distributable income in 1Q17 rose 6.6% to $15.6 million, from $14.6 million a year ago.

This was largely due to higher total return before distribution and partially offset by lower non-tax deductible items.

Gross revenue grew 9.2% to $22.0 million, while net property income was 11.7% higher at $19.2 million.

The higher gross revenue in 1Q17 was mainly due to a $2.0 million increase in revenue from Bukit Batok Connection, and partially offset by a $0.5 million reduction in revenue from West Park.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at $24.3 million as at March 31, 2017.

“The team has secured close to 160k sq ft of new leases and completed 100k sq ft of renewals and forward renewals in this quarter which improved the portfolio’s occupancy rate by 2.2% compared to previous quarter,” says Roy Teo, CEO of the manager.

Occupancy rate stands at 91.8% in 1Q17.

Looking ahead, Teo says “the key challenge remains to retain existing tenants and improve occupancy in the multi-tenanted buildings and 72 Loyang Way.”

Units of Soilbuild Business Space REIT closed half a cent higher at 68.5 cents on Wednesday.