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Ascendas Hospitality Trust's Q2 DPS up 2.9%

ASCENDAS Hospitality Trust (A-HTRUST) posted on Monday a 2.9 per cent increase in its distribution per stapled security (DPS) for the second quarter, as lower net finance cost helped to lift earnings.

For the three months ended Sept 30, 2017, DPS stood at 1.42 Singapore cents, up from 1.38 Singapore cents a year ago. A-HTRUST's DPS for H1 2018 was 2.73 Singapore cents, up from 2.67 Singapore cents the year before.

Lower net finance cost contributed to the quarter's income available for distribution (less income retained for working capital) being 3.7 per cent higher year-on-year (y-o-y) to S$16.1 million, which was partially negated by higher retention of income.

Distributable income for H1 2018, based on less income retained for working capital, increased 2.8 per cent to S$30.8 million.

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A-HTRUST said that the retention of income for Q2 2018 and H1 2018 were based on 6.4 per cent and 6.7 per cent of distributable income respectively, while retention of income for Q2 2017 and H1 2017 were based on 5 per cent and 4.9 per cent of distributable income respectively.

For Q2 2018, the trust posted a 5.2 per cent growth in gross revenue to S$58.4 million. Gross revenue for H1 2018 was up 3.7 per cent to S$111.9 million.

A-HTRUST said that overall improvement in gross revenue across the portfolio was further lifted by the appreciation of the Australian dollar against Singapore dollar, although it was partially offset by a weaker Japanese yen against the Singapore dollar.

Net property income for Q2 2018 increased by 0.8 per cent to S$24.5 million but slipped 0.3 per cent to S$46.8 million for H1 2018. The trust said that overall net property income was marginally lower mainly due to higher land tax related to Pullman and Mercure Melbourne Albert Park, and higher operating expenses for Pullman and Mercure Brisbane King George Square.

On Monday, it was also announced that A-HTRUST will be expanding its investment mandate.

"The expansion of scope reinforces the managers' strategy of investing in a diversified portfolio and will provide flexibility to allow the managers to seek acquisition opportunities in other markets beyond Asia, Australia and New Zealand that can enhance the value of the portfolio," Ascendas Hospitality Fund Management Pte Ltd and Ascendas Hospitality Trust Management Pte Ltd said.

A-HTRUST closed trading at S$0.885 on Monday, up 0.5 cent, or 0.6 per cent.