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MLT's Q4 DPU up 4%, to acquire 50% stake in 11 China properties for 985.3m yuan

MAPLETREE Logistics Trust's (MLT) fourth-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) rose 4 per cent to 1.937 Singapore cents amid a strong performance driven by organic growth, contributions from a newly-completed redevelopment in Singapore, as well as acquisitions.

The distribution will be paid on June 6.

The trust manager also announced plans to acquire a 50 per cent stake in each of 11 logistics properties in China for about 985.3 million yuan.

The remaining 50 per cent interest in the properties will be held by subsidiaries of the sponsor of MLT, Mapletree Investments.

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The portfolio will double MLT's net lettable space in China to 8.8 million sq ft and increase its e-commerce revenue exposure in China from 18 per cent to 42 per cent.

A majority of the tenants in these properties are e-commerce players. The top five tenants are JD.com, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, Sinotrans, Best Logistics Technology (China) and China Post Group Corporation.

Six of the 11 properties are located in the eastern region of China, namely Wuxi, Changshu, Zhenjiang, Nantong, Hangzhou and Jiaxing. Four are located in the mid-west China region - Xi'an, Changsha, Wuhan and Nanchang.

The remaining property is located in Tianjin.

MLT's gross revenue for the three months ended March 31 increased 11 per cent from a year earlier to S$107.5 million, while net property income rose 14 per cent to S$91.3 million.

Overall growth was partially offset by the absence of contributions from four divestments and one of two blocks under redevelopment in Ouluo Logistics Centre, China.

The amount distributable to unitholders rose 27 per cent year-on-year to S$59.2 million.

DPU for the full year came up to 7.618 Singapore cents, a 2 per cent increase from the preceding year's DPU of 7.44 Singapore cents.

With continued economic growth projected for the region, demand for logistics properties is expected to remain healthy, the manager of the trust said in a statement. However, possible escalations in trade tensions and faster-than-expected interest rate hikes in advanced economies may temper this expected growth.

In Singapore, the leasing environment remains competitive in the near term as it takes time for existing vacant warehouse space to be absorbed by the market. However, new supply is expected to taper in the coming years, the trust manager said.

"In Hong Kong, favourable supply-demand dynamics should continue to support rental rates and high occupancies. MLT's portfolios in Japan and Australia remain stable, underpinned by 100 per cent occupancy rates and long leases."