Elite Commercial REIT's Upper Huntbach Street, Stoke on Trent. (Image: Google Maps)

Elite Commercial REIT has assured investors that it is facing an increase in demand for its spaces despite worsening economic conditions, and the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK.

The statement has been issued against the backdrop of a continued fall in its unit price, which has slid 12% from GBP0.70 in July 2020 to GBP0.61 on 22 September.

As such, the REIT is presently trading in discount territory, as reflected in data captured on the Singapore REITs table.

Elite Commercial REIT is a UK-focused office REIT that is listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

The REIT’s primary tenant is the UK Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

“The manager wishes to assure its investors that its portfolio of properties is facing an increase in demand for its office space, which is a counter-cyclical trend to the rest of the market”, said the REIT on 23 September.

DWP is actively hiring more staff to work in the REIT’s portfolio as part of its drive to double the number of work coaches country-wide to 27,000, the REIT clarified.

“The manager is providing this as a response to the recent news reports of a decrease in demand for CBD office space as employees are required or wish to work from home, due to the COVID-19 pandemic”, it added.

Separately, Elite Commercial REIT does not expect a significant business disruption at the properties in the REIT’s portfolio even as the UK Government imposes new restrictions to curb the number of COVID-19 cases.

“During the previous lockdown in the UK, the REIT’s Jobcentre Plus locations had remained open to process and disburse benefits to claimants, even as medical assessments, interviews or other face-to-face appointments were discouraged”, said the REIT.

“The REIT’s primary tenant DWP plays a crucial role in the social infrastructure serving the UK’s local communities”.

“As such, despite the macroeconomic uncertainty and dynamic environment resulting from COVID-19, we remain positive about Elite Commercial REIT’s current focus on commercial assets with the ability to generate cash flow backed by UK sovereign credit”.

“We are confident of the continued demand for the REIT’s assets and its ability to provide attractive and recession-proof cash flows and ultimately continue to deliver stable and growing returns to our unitholders”, it concluded.

The REIT has since recovered to GBP0.63 at market close on 23 September.

By Shariffa Al-Habshee

Shariffa joined REITsWeek in 2017, and monitors Asia-Pacific REITs for the publication.