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FLT Q2 DPU marginally above forecast (Amended)

Exemption for "absentee landlord tax levy" by Victoria state government lowers operating expenses


BEING granted an exemption for a tax levy in Australia helped industrial landlord Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust (FLT) post results that were slightly above forecast in its fiscal second quarter (see amendment note).

The trust, which listed in June 2016, recorded a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.75 Singapore cents for the quarter, more than the projected 1.64 Singapore cents.

It declared a distribution of 3.49 Singapore cents per unit for the six-month period from Oct 1 last year to March 31 this year, it said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Friday morning.

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This came on the back of a Q2 distributable income that was 5.9 per cent above forecast at A$25.1 million (S$26 million).

For the three months ended March 31, gross revenue was 1.6 per cent higher than projected at A$40.9 million. Net property income was 2.4 per cent above forecast at A$34.5 million for the period.

FLT said its bottomline fared better than projections after it was granted an exemption for "absentee landlord tax levy" by the Victoria state government in Australia for the 2017 tax year, which lowered property operating expenses. That cost-saving was partly offset by provisions for repairs and maintenance costs incurred for some of the properties that had their leases extended and those undergoing leasing negotiations, it added.

Robert Wallace, chief executive of the trust manager, also said in a statement that the trust managed to do better than forecast due to "interest cost savings, proactive leasing activities and the acquisition of the three call option properties in late 2016".

The trust's portfolio was worth A$1.75 billion altogether as at end-March 2017. That includes 54 Australian industrial real estate assets in cities such as Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Its portfolio occupancy stood at 99.3 per cent as at the end of March this year, with a weighted average lease expiry of 6.7 years and what it said were "minimal" lease expiries of 0.2 per cent by gross rental income for the financial year ending Sept 30, 2017.

It noted in its results statement that Australian industrial property supply levels this year "are close to 10-year highs", with development activity concentrated in Melbourne and Sydney.

Sydney remains the strongest leasing market with "indications of rental growth", it said, whereas in Melbourne, industrial rents in the western region "are essentially unchanged" and Brisbane industrial rents "remain under pressure".

FLT units closed S$0.01 or one per cent lower at S$1.015 on Friday after the results.


Amendment note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated figures for FLT's Q1 earnings. It is in fact the trust's Q2 earnings. The article above has been revised to reflect this.