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CapitaLand Mall Trust raises Q1 DPU by 3.6% as Westgate boosts revenue

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CapitaLand Mall Trust took full ownership of Westgate (pictured) last November, and the consolidation of Westgate's full income was a key reason for the Q1 revenue increase.

CAPITALAND Mall Trust (CMT) is raising its first-quarter distribution per unit by 3.6 per cent to 2.88 Singapore cents from a year-ago 2.78 Singapore cents as the retail landlord completed its acquisition of Westgate Mall, the trust manager announced on Wednesday before the market opened.

Net property income for the three months ended March 31 grew 11.5 per cent to S$140.1 million, while gross revenue rose 10 per cent to S$192.7 million. Distributable income increased by 7.4 per cent to S$106.3 million.

The trust took full ownership of Westgate in November 2018 after acquiring an additional 70 per cent stake in the mall. The consolidation of Westgate's full income was a key reason for the revenue increase in the first quarter. Bedok Mall and Tampines Mall also contributed to the higher gross revenue, partially offset by lower gross revenue from Sembawang Shopping Centre, which was divested in June 2018.

Tony Tan, chief executive of the real estate investment trust’s (Reit’s) manager, said that Funan is expected to contribute progressively to CMT’s earnings from the second half of 2019. The mall in the central business district is opening mid-2019 and is about 90 per cent leased.

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On April 4, 2019, CMT MTN, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reit, issued US$300 million of 3.609 per cent notes due April 4, 2029 through its S$3.5 billion multicurrency medium term note programme. The proceeds from that offering were swapped into S$407.1 million at a 3.223 per cent interest, and used to refinance the trust's existing bank borrowings.

The aggregate leverage of the Reit stood at 34.4 per cent on March 31, compared with 34.2 per cent as at end-2018.

Amid the slowdown in global and Singapore economies, the Reit manager remains cautious in its outlook. Competition among shopping malls is expected to intensify, with new retail space of about 1 million square feet – excluding Funan – coming on stream in Singapore this year, Mr Tan said.

CMT units closed S$2.32 on Tuesday, down two Singapore cents.