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Ascendas Hospitality Trust posts 2.9% rise in Q4 DPS

ASCENDAS Hospitality Trust (AHT) on Thursday posted a 2.9 per cent year-on-year rise in distribution per stapled security (DPS) to 1.77 Singapore cents for the fourth quarter ended March 31, driven by full-quarter contribution from the five hotels acquired during the year.

Q4 DPS was further lifted by lower net finance costs and a partial distribution of the proceeds from the trust's divestment of its two hotels in Beijing.

However, the rise in DPS was partly offset by lower contributions from the Singapore hotel and Australia portfolio, as well as the weakening of the Australian dollar against the Singapore dollar.

Income available for distribution in Q4, less income retained for working capital, was up 3.5 per cent to S$20.1 million, compared to a year ago. This was mainly due to China sale proceeds distribution of S$4.6 million as well as a lower net finance cost.

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For the full year 2018/2019, the trust's DPS rose 2.9 per cent to 6.03 Singapore cents. Meanwhile, income available for distribution, less income retained for working capital, was up 3.4 per cent on year to S$68.5 million.

Despite the challenging year, AHT has been able to drive growth through the acquisitions in Japan and Korea, which boosted portfolio valuation 11.5 per cent year-on-year to S$1.8 billion as at end-March, said Tan Juay Hiang, CEO of the trust's manager, in a press statement.

"In the process, (the trust) broke into the Seoul hotel market, which is a city that we believe has strong hospitality fundamentals…The portfolio has grown steadily from approximately S$1 billion when (the trust) was listed in 2012," he said.

"We believe that the hotels acquired in FY2018/19, which were all on master lease arrangement, and the diversity of the portfolio have continued to build up the resilience of the portfolio as a whole through added income stability and will benefit the trust as we move into the new financial year," he added.

Ascendas Hospitality Trust closed flat at 92 Singapore cents on Thursday before the results were released.