Link Reit investors get bigger payouts

The landlord of shopping malls, markets and car parks sees total interim revenue increase 10pc to HK$4.6bn

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 November, 2016, 7:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 November, 2016, 10:05pm

Total distributable income at Link Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns shopping malls, markets and car parks, most of them formerly owned by the Hong Kong Housing Authority, rose 12.9 per cent during the six months to September 30, as rental income increased.

Interim distribution per unit paid to unit holders was 111.75 HK cents, compared with 98.99 HK cents over the same period last year, according to its filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Total revenue increased 10 per cent year on year to HK$4.6 billion and net property income jumped 11.1 per cent to HK$3.44 billion.

“In the silhouette of a challenging retail market, our portfolio showed a resilient performance

as we continued to focus on mass market, non-discretionary trades,” said the statement.

The occupancy rate for the portfolio at the end of the period remained stable at 95.9 per cent, while the reversion rate stood at 21 per cent with a 6.6 per cent year-on-year growth in retail rentals.

Average monthly unit rents improved to HK$52.5 per square foot in September from HK$50.0 in March.

George Hongchoy, chief executive of The Link Management, the manager of The Link Reit, said rentals for markets and cooked food stalls grew rose 17.8 per cent when leases were renewed during the period. That increase is based on previous leases signed three years ago, when rentals were lower.

The markets were located in the Link Reit’s first batch of renovated properties, and the rises were in line with market trends, added Hongchoy.

The trust has set aside HK$3 billion for renovations and improvements to be made at 37 malls, 12 of which are underway, nine are pending statutory approval and 16 are under planning.

All the projects are scheduled to be completed by the middle of 2018.

Car parks, which represent 17.6 per cent of its business by value, recorded a 6.4 per cent rental growth during the period.

Car park income per space per month increased by 11. 1 per cent to HK$2.2 billion from a year ago.

Link Reit also has two properties in the mainland – EC Mall in Beijing and Corporate Avenue 1 & 2 in Shanghai, which contributed revenue of HK$289 million, a sharp 124 per cent rise on a year ago at this stage. Net rental income jumped 144 per cent to HK$232 million as Corporate Avenue 1 & 2 made its full period contribution.

Shares in Link Reit edged up 0.091 per cent to close at HK$54.85 on Wednesday.