Ascott REIT records positive performance for Q4 2018

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 29 January 2019

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Singapore: Ascott Residence Trust’s distribution per unit (DPU) increased five per cent year-on-year to 2.15 cents in 4Q 2018.

Unitholders' distribution for FY 2018 is a record high at S$154.8 million, a two per cent increase from FY 2017. This was on the back of 4Q 2018 Unitholders' distribution rising six per cent to S$46.5 million over 4Q 2017.

Gross profit for 4Q 2018 increased three to S$63.4 million due to higher revenue. Revenue grew 2% to S$136.5 million. This was mainly contributed by the additional revenue of S$0.4 million from Ascott Orchard Singapore acquired in October 2017 and higher revenue of S$2.7 million from existing properties, partially offset by the decrease in revenue of S$1.1 million from divestments1. On a same-store basis, gross profit and revenue also increased. Ascott Reit's revenue per available unit (RevPAU) for 4Q 2018 increased five per cent year-on-year to S$163.

Bob Tan, Ascott Residence Trust Management Limited's (ARTML) chairman, said: "Ascott Reit achieved record high unitholders' distribution for the third consecutive year. Ascott Reit's ability to deliver stable returns is a result of our efforts in building a geographically diversified portfolio of quality properties. We continued to strengthen Ascott Reit's position as the largest hospitality REIT in Singapore by acquiring a prime site to build lyf one-north Singapore, our first co-living property."

He added: "As part of our proactive portfolio reconstitution strategy, we completed the divestment of two serviced residences in Shanghai and Xi'an in early 2018. The FY 2018 distribution included S$6.5 million, part of the net gains from the sale of these two properties. We also recently announced the sale of Ascott Raffles Place Singapore. These divestments will give Ascott Reit the financial flexibility to invest in new accretive opportunities that will enhance our portfolio and returns to Unitholders."

In 4Q 2018, Ascott Reit's key markets with strong operating performance include the United States, China and Japan. Gross profit for the United States surged 17 per cent, underpinned by higher demand and increased revenue from the upgraded apartments at Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel. In China, excluding the contribution from Citadines Gaoxin Xi'an and Citadines Biyun Shanghai that were divested in January 2018, gross profit grew 16 per cent as there were more guests on long stay. Similarly, Japan's gross profit rose 12 per cent due to stronger corporate and leisure demand in Tokyo.

Beh Siew Kim, ARTML's CEO, said: "Enhancing Unitholders' returns through proactive asset management, including refurbishing our properties and leveraging technology, continues to be our priority. Our refurbished properties have not only created a better experience for guests, average daily rates for these properties have also increased about 10% to 20% due to stronger demand. During the year, we completed the refurbishments for Ascott Makati, Citadines Arnulfpark Munich, Citadines Trocadéro Paris, Somerset Grand Hanoi and Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel. We are also carrying out refurbishment works at Somerset Grand Citra Jakarta and Element New York Times Square West, to be completed this year."

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