SINGAPORE (Jan 23): The manager of CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT) announced that its 4Q18 DPU has increased by 3.1% to 2.99 cents, compared to 2.90 cents in 4Q17.

This brings the DPU for FY18 to 11.50 cents, 3.0% higher than 11.16 cents in FY17.

Distributable income to unitholders was 5.1% higher in 4Q18 at $108.1 million from $102.9 million last year.

Gross revenue for the quarter came in at $180.5 million, 4.7% higher than $172.4 million a year ago, with higher contribution from the trust’s gross rental income and other income, but partially offset by lower car park income.

This increase in revenue was mainly attributable the acquisition of Infinity Mall Trust (IMT), completed on Nov 1, 2018. IMT is now a subsidiary of CMT and its results are consolidated at CMT Group. The increase was also due to higher other income as well as higher gross rental income from IMM and Bedok Mall.

The increase was partially offset by lower gross revenue from Sembawang Shopping Centre which was divested on June 18, 2018 and lower occupancy for JCube, Lot One Shoppers’ Mall and Clarke Quay.

Property operating expenses increased by 5.4% y-o-y to $56.0 million, bringing net property income of 4Q18 to $124.4 million, 4.3% higher than $119.3 million in the previous year.

Finance costs was 3.3% higher y-o-y at $27.0 million, mainly due to interest on IMT’s bank borrowings which was consolidated at CMT Group after the acquisition and term loans drawn down to part finance the acquisition. But partially offset by repayment of bank borrowing in Jan 2018 and refinancing of EMTN of US$400 million in Mar 2018 at lower interest rates.

The loans were partially repaid with net proceeds from divestment of Sembawang Shopping Centre in June 2018 and MTN issuances at lower interest rates in FY18.

During the quarter, the trust spent $8.98 million in costs associated with acquisition of subsidiary, which was absent last year.

However, CMT saw a 54.6% y-o-y increase in share of results (net of tax) of joint ventures to $16.7 million.

Adj Professor Richard R Magnus, chairman of the manager, says, “Cognisant of the challenges ahead – which include slowdown in the global and Singapore economies, uncertainty in the interest rate environment and competition from the completion of new shopping malls – we remain vigilant and will continually explore new ways to differentiate our malls from the competition and increase customer engagement.”

Units in CMT last traded 1 cent higher at $2.27 on Tuesday.