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Far East H-Trust Q1 DPS down 3.2% to 0.91 Singapore cent

FAR East Hospitality Trust (H-Trust) saw its distribution per stapled security (DPS) for the first quarter ended March 31 fall 3.2 per cent to 0.91 Singapore cent, from 0.94 Singapore cent a year ago. 

This came on the back of an enlarged base, and income available for distribution declining 1.2 per cent to S$17.4 million.

The DPS for the quarter will be paid out on June 12, with books closure set for May 6. 

Net property income was 9 per cent higher at S$25.1 million, boosted by additional contribution from Oasia Hotel Downtown, which Far East H-Reit (real estate investment trust) completed the acquisition of in April last year. 

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Far East H-Trust is a stapled group comprising Far East H-Reit and Far East H-BT (business trust). 

Gross revenue grew 8 per cent to S$27.8 million from the year before, mainly due to an increase in master lease rental from the hotels. 

Revenue per available room of the hotel portfolio also inched up 0.7 per cent to S$140, due to an increase in average occupancy and average daily rate (ADR).

Fuelled by rising visitor traffic to Singapore, hotels under the trust continued to enjoy high occupancies. Nonetheless, contribution from the corporate segment was lower for the quarter, as there were fewer major events, and as companies continued to exercise prudence in their business travel spending, the manager said. 

Meanwhile, performance of Far East H-Trust's serviced residences sector was more stable. 

"Although demand from the corporate segment remained subdued, there was growth from some industries and other market segments, which helped to relieve downward pressure on ADR," the manager noted. 

While the average occupancy of the serviced residences portfolio fell 1.1 percentage points to 80.2 per cent, ADR grew 1.3 per cent to S$217. As a result, revenue per available unit was flat year on year at S$174 for Q1 2019. 

Separately, revenue from the retail and office spaces declined 0.5 per cent to S$5.5 million from a year ago, due to lower rental rates. 

Gerald Lee, CEO of the Reit manager said: "The hotels and serviced residences in our portfolio recorded a slight improvement in the average rate. The hotels continued to achieve high occupancies, although corporate demand was relatively softer as compared to the same period last year given the absence of major events such as the biennial Singapore Airshow.

"The increase in hotel room supply is expected to be moderate in the near future, providing some stability to facilitate a recovery in the sector."

Looking ahead, the manager noted that while there may be some volatility in the near term given the subdued corporate demand due to global macroeconomic concerns, it is positive about the medium-term prospects of the industry.

"This is supported by the government’s recently announced plans to drive quality tourism by rejuvenating existing offerings and implementing new developments," the manager added. 

In September 2014, Far East H-Reit took a 30 per cent stake in a joint venture to develop a new hotel site located at Artillery Avenue, Sentosa with Far East Organization Centre, a member of Far East Organization.

The Reit's portfolio includes 13 properties consisting of nine hotels and four service residences located in Singapore, and the Sentosa hotel development project. 

As at 3.20pm on Thursday, units in Far East H-Trust were trading at S$0.66, down 0.8 per cent, or 0.5 Singapore cent.