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Mapletree Logistics Trust posts Q3 DPU of 2.044 S cents

MAPLETREE Logistics Trust (MLT) on Monday posted a distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.044 Singapore cents on an enlarged unit base for the third quarter ended Dec 31, 2019, up from a DPU of 2.002 cents a year ago.

Income available for distribution climbed 6.5 per cent year-on-year to S$76.6 million. The books closure date is Jan 29, and payment will be made on March 6.

Net property income increased 3.9 per cent to S$108.6 million.

Gross revenue edged up slightly by 0.3 per cent to S$121.1 million, mainly due to higher revenue from existing properties and acquisitions in Australia, South Korea and Vietnam. This was partly offset by the absence of revenue from five divestments done in the first quarter, and the impact of weaker currencies.

Property expenses fell 22.8 per cent to S$12.6 million mainly due to lower land rent recognised with the adoption of new accounting standards, and divestments completed in the first quarter.

Portfolio occupancy expanded to 97.7 per cent from 97.5 per cent in the previous quarter due to higher occupancy in Singapore, partly offset by lower occupancies in South Korea and China.

Leases for 244,695 square metres (sq m) of space were renewed or replaced in Q3, out of a total of 252,423 sq m due for expiry.

Occupancy for the logistics facilities has stayed relatively resilient at 97.7 per cent, while rental rates have been stable to-date, said MLT. The manager intends to continue focusing on tenant retention and actively managing leases due for expiry.

The manager raised gross proceeds of about S$250 million in October last year through a private placement to partly finance the acquisition of seven logistics properties. Aggregate leverage rose to 37.5 per cent as at Dec 31, 2019; post-quarter, it was reduced to 37.1 per cent with the repayment of loans from net divestment proceeds.

MLT's debt maturity profile has an average debt duration of 3.9 years after refinancing post quarter-end. Of MLT's total debt, 84 per cent has been hedged into fixed rates while 78 per cent of income stream for the next 12 months has been hedged.

The acquisition of seven logistics properties was completed in Q3 and will make their full contribution in the coming quarter. Coupled with the divestment of one property in China, MLT's portfolio comprises 143 properties, while total value of assets under management was S$8.3 billion as at Dec 31, 2019.

MLT noted that customers are cautious about renewals and expansion due to geopolitical uncertainties and concerns about the performance of the economy. Some are looking to consolidate their operations to improve cost and operational efficiencies.

"This may have a negative impact on demand for warehouse space," said MLT.

The counter closed flat at S$1.81 on Monday.