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Ascendas India Trust Q1 DPU up 23%

ASCENDAS India Trust has raised its first-quarter payout with net property income growing against the year-ago period despite a slip in revenue, the manager said on Wednesday.

Distribution per unit (DPU) went up to 1.6 Singapore cents for the three months to June 30, an increase of 23 per cent over the DPU of 1.31 Singapore cents in the same period the year before.

Net property income came in higher by 10 per cent at S$33.6 million, as the bottom line got a boost from lower operations, maintenance and utilities and other property operating expenses.

The cost savings were mainly due to the phasing out of the dedicated power plant at International Tech Park Bangalore, which ate into utilities income. Sanjeev Dasgupta, chief executive of the manager, added in a media statement that the income hedging losses and one-off settlement expenses incurred in the year-ago period also contributed to the year-on-year growth.

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Total property income dipped by 3 per cent to S$44.9 million, on a weaker Indian rupee, even though income in rupee terms saw a 6 per cent gain amid positive rental reversions.

The business trust also registered income contributions from new properties such as Atria at The V, which was completed in September 2017, and Arshiya Warehouses, acquired in February 2018.

Income for distribution rose by 36 per cent to S$16.6 million, with the manager noting that DPU was higher "despite the increase in equity base of 97.4 million units through the private placement in February 2018".

The manager's policy is to retain as much as 10 per cent of the income available for distribution - which rose by 36 per cent to S$18.4 million in the quarter - to provide for greater flexibility in growing the trust.

Ascendas India Trust has a portfolio of seven business parks and six warehouses in India, with 12.6 million sq ft of completed properties. Committed portfolio occupancy was 96 per cent as at June 30 - which Mr Dasgupta called "healthy" - with a weighted average lease expiry of 4.5 years.

Net asset value ticked up to S$0.91, from S$0.90 as at March 31.

"We continue to see good leasing momentum at (Blueridge Special Economic Zone Phase II in Pune), which has attained leasing commitment of 87 per cent," said Mr Dasgupta.

"On the investment front, we recently announced the proposed acquisitions of AURUM IT SEZ in Navi Mumbai and aVance 5 and 6 in Hyderabad, which will further boost our growth pipeline."

The counter closed up by 0.93 per cent to S$1.09 before the results were announced.