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Author: SGX   |   Latest post: Mon, 27 Sep 2021, 11:20 AM


REIT Watch - Defying Gravity: Retail and Office S-Reits With Higher Occupancy

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Steady Performance

In a previous publication of Reit Watch, we noted that the average occupancy rate of the sector (excluding hospitality Reits) decreased from approximately 96 per cent as at March 31, 2020 to 95 per cent as at March 31, 2021.

The pandemic had varying degrees of impact on individual retail and office S-Reits, which were sub-sectors that saw the biggest dips in average occupancy rates of 2.1 and 1.9 percentage points (ppt) respectively.

However, there were three retail and office S-Reits that maintained or saw a boost in occupancy rates (based on reported data and barring methodology differences): IReit Global IREIT Global: UD1U 0% (+1.2 ppt), Elite Commercial Reit EliteComREIT GBP: MXNU 0% (unchanged) and Frasers Centrepoint Trust Frasers Cpt Tr: J69U 0%(unchanged).

IReit Global (IReit), the first S-Reit with a Europe-focused mandate to be listed, has a portfolio of five office assets in Germany and four office assets in Spain, valued at approximately 719.6 million euros.

IReit was the only office S-Reit that saw a year-on-year increase in occupancy rate in Q12021. The Reit had a portfolio occupancy rate of 95.9 per cent as at March 31, 2021, up from 94.7 per cent at at Mar 31, 2020.

It noted that the pandemic had limited impact on its portfolio in Q12021, with no requests for rental rebates or deferrals from tenants and that all tenants continued to pay rents for Q12021.

In April 2021, IReit announced plans to add retail assets to its portfolio.

The acquisition consists of 27 retail properties located across France, based on a sale & leaseback arrangement with Decathlon for approximately 110.5 million euros.

The acquisition will create an enlarged portfolio of 35 properties across Europe, valued at 833.5 million euros, and boosting the portfolio occupancy further to 97.0 per cent.

Elite Commercial Reit (Elite), an office S-Reit with assets in the UK, maintained full occupancy over the year. It attributed its portfolio resilience and stable cashflows to the unique nature of its tenants.

The Reit derives over 99 per cent of gross rental income from the UK government, of which 92.6 per cent is contributed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Following its maiden acquisition of 58 properties across the UK in March 2021, Elite further extended its exposure to UK sovereign credit and welcomed a new substantial unitholder - the European Institution Partner Reinsurance Company (PartnerRE).

Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT), the only S-Reit with 100 per cent retail assets in Singapore, was the sole retail S-Reit which did not report a deline in portfolio occupancy from a year ago.

The Reit's retail portfolio occupancy rate stood at 96.1 per cent as of Mar 31, 2021. 

REIT Watch is a weekly column on The Business Times, read the original version.

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