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Fortune Reit H1 DPU dips 0.8% to 26.13 HK cents

DUAL-LISTED Hong Kong-based Fortune Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) will pay out a distribution per unit (DPU) of 26.13 Hong Kong cents (4.57 Singapore cents) for the first six months, manager ARA Asset Management said in unaudited results released on Friday.

Fortune Reit, which holds a secondary listing in Singapore, has been scheduled to delist in the Republic in October, with the trust's Li Ka Shing-backed manager previously citing compliance obligations and legal and compliance costs for the move.

The DPU for the latest period to June 30 was down by 0.8 per cent on the year before, as revenue dipped by 0.4 per cent to HK$974.3 million, which was attributed to the sale of Provident Square mall and renovation works at its largest asset by area, Fortune Kingswood.

Net property income was flat year-on-year at HK$748.7 million, while distributable income ticked up by 0.1 per cent to HK$505.5 million.

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Fortune Reit makes distributions on a semi-annual basis.

The trust has a portfolio of 16 retail properties in Hong Kong, including 2,713 parking lots. Occupancy was 97.4 per cent, up from 93.1 per cent as at Dec 31, 2018, the manager noted.

Gearing stood at 20.5 per cent, against 20.9 per cent as at end-2018.

Despite a slowdown in economic growth - including retail sales and private consumption - the manager asserted that "Fortune Malls are private housing estate retail properties catering mainly for non-discretionary spending, and tend to be relatively resilient".

In the wake of the demonstrations by pro-democracy activists in the Chinese territory which have intensified in recent weeks, the manager said that it "will closely monitor whether the recent protests in Hong Kong would impact our malls' business".

The manager added that the HK$150 million renovation of Fortune Kingswood in Tin Shui Wai, which began in June 2018, should be done in the second half of 2019, with the mall to boast more food and beverage offerings, a new education zone and more varied household goods.

"Our proactive approach in asset management, upgrading our malls through (asset enhancement initiatives), as well as yield-accretive acquisitions have all contributed to Fortune Reit's success in the past 15 years," the manager said.

"With a robust balance sheet and prudent capital management in place, Fortune Reit will continue with these three proven strategies in generating steady returns to our unitholders."

The counter shed HK$0.04 or 0.38 per cent to HK$10.46 on Friday before the results were released.