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Ascott Residence Trust posts 6% rise in Q4 DPS to 2.27 S cents

Quest Macquarie Park Sydney (1).jpg
When the transaction completes in the first quarter of 2020, Quest Macquarie Park Sydney will be under a master lease agreement, adding to ART’s stream of stable income.

ASCOTT Residence Trust's (ART) distribution per stapled security (DPS) rose by 6 per cent to 2.27 Singapore cents for its fourth quarter ended Dec 31, from 2.15 Singapore cents a year ago.

Revenue was down 2 per cent to S$134.1 million for the quarter, from S$136.5 million a year ago. This was mainly due to a S$2.5 million fall in revenue from the divestment of Ascott Raffles Place Singapore and Somerset West Lake Hanoi, the managers said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.

Gross profit improved 3 per cent on the year to S$65.3 million for the quarter, from S$63.4 million a year ago. 

Unitholders' distribution rose 6 per cent year on year to S$49.3 million, from S$46.5 million. This included a one-off partial distribution of divestment gain of S$13.5 million to replace lost income and to share divestment gains with unitholders. 

The distribution will be paid out on Feb 10, after books closure on Dec 30.

For the full year ended Dec 31, DPS was 6 per cent higher at 7.61 Singapore cents, versus 7.16 cents a year ago, unitholders' distribution was up 7 per cent to S$165.6 million, while gross profit improved 6 per cent to S$252.6 million for the full year.

ART is the stapled group formed after the combination of real estate investment trusts Ascott Residence Trust (Ascott Reit) and Ascendas Hospitality Trust (A-HTrust).

The merger was completed on Dec 31. Ascott Reit acquired A-HTrust Reit while Ascott Business Trust acquired A-HTrust BT. Following the completion, A-HTrust was delisted from the Singapore Exchange and unstapled. 

Bob Tan, chairman of ART's managers, said on Thursday that the combination resulted in a total asset value of S$7.4 billion. 

"With an enlarged debt headroom of S$1.5 billion, we have greater capacity for more acquisitions, development or conversion projects," he added.

The combined entity ART began trading on the Singapore bourse on Jan 2 under the trading name Ascott Trust and stock code HMN. This was after unstapled Ascott Reit units traded for the last time on Dec 26.

ART stapled securities closed at S$1.27 on Wednesday, up three Singapore cents or 2.4 per cent.