Singapore-listed retail REIT, Frasers Centrepoint Trust, announced on 22 April that it has achieved a distribution per unit (DPU) of 3.039 Singapore cents for the financial period spanning 1 January to 31 March 2016 (2Q 2016), 2.6% higher than the same period a year ago.

Income available for distribution for the quarter was up 6.7% to SGD29.0 million, of which SGD27.9 million will be distributed to unitholders and SGD1.1 million, equivalent to 0.116 cents per unit, will be retained.

The figures came on the back of a 0.8% dip in gross revenue for the period which came in at SGD47.1 million, while net property income increased marginally by 0.4% to SGD33.68 million.

Portfolio occupancy as at 31 March 2016 declined to 92.0% from 94.5% in the prior quarter, due mainly to the asset enhancement initiative (AEI) works at Northpoint which began in March 2016 and is scheduled to complete by September 2017.

The occupancy rate of the other malls remained relatively stable with the REIT having renewed approximately 49% of the total net lettable area of leases expiring in FY2016 in the first two quarters, at an average rental improvement of 12.0%.

Portfolio shopper traffic for the quarter was up 11.4% year-on-year while portfolio tenants’ sales for the three-month period also increased by 2.1% year-on-year, with Causeway Point achieving the highest tenants’ sales growth among all the malls in the portfolio, said the REIT.

Frasers Centrepoint Trust’s gearing for the quarter was at 28.3% with average weighted debt maturity improving to 1.91 years from 1.45 years in the prior quarter and an all-in average cost of borrowings of s2.286%.

“The Singapore retail environment continues to be challenging. The retail sales index, excluding motor vehicles, rose 1.4% year-on-year in January 2016 but fell 9.6% in February 2016”, said the REIT in a statement on the results. “However, we believe suburban retail malls, particularly for the well-located ones, would stay resilient as it depends more on necessity shopping from recurring shopper traffic”, it added.

Units of Frasers Centrepoint Trust last changed hands on the Singapore Exchange at SGD2.00.

By Ridzwan Rahmat

Ridzwan has been analysing REITs and business trusts since 2008, and personally manages a portfolio comprising mainly of SGX-listed REITs. He founded REITsWeek in 2013.