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Charter Hall WALE Limited, as responsible entity of the Charter Hall Long WALE REIT (ASX:CLW) (CLW or the REIT) today announced its 1H FY18 results for the period from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017. Key financial and operational highlights for the period are:
Avi Anger, Charter Hall Long WALE REIT Fund Manager, commented:
“This solid result reflects the active management approach we take to maintain long term, sustainable returns for our investors. We are pleased to deliver Operating EPS of 13.0 cents or 1.8% above the PDS 1H FY18 forecast. In addition, the REIT’s portfolio value has grown by 8.4% during the period driven by strategic acquisitions and $21 million in gross property revaluations. This has delivered an increased NTA of 2.2% to $4.02 per security".
Accretive acquisitions, active leasing and positive revaluations
During the period, the REIT completed a successful accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer, which raised $94.1 million of new equity to fund a 100% interest in Virgin Australia's head office at 56 Edmondstone Road, Brisbane. The A-Grade freehold asset comprises approximately 12,500sqm of net lettable area across three low-rise office buildings and is 100% leased to Virgin Australia with an 8.4 year WALE at settlement.
The acquisition price reflects a 6.8% capitalisation rate. Key highlights of the acquisition include:
Mr Anger added:
“The acquisition of the Virgin Australia Head Office improves the sector, geographic, tenant and tenant industry diversification of the REIT's portfolio and the 3.5% annual fixed rent reviews contributes to the earnings growth profile of the REIT".
The REIT also completed a five-year lease extension with Electrolux Home Products Pty Limited at 76 – 80 Howards Road, Beverley, South Australia. As a result, the expiry date of this lease has been extended from December 2024 to December 2029 and the lease term remaining at this property has increased to 11.9 years.
During the period, 46 properties were independently valued (c.39% of the portfolio by value) which resulted in a total gross uplift of $21.0 million, reflecting a 1.5% increase on prior book values. This valuation growth, in conjunction with strategic acquisitions and lease extensions, resulted in the REIT’s portfolio valuation growing 8.4% to $1.52 billion, reflecting a $118 million increase to 31 December 20174. At the end of the period, the REIT’s diversified portfolio remains 100% occupied and the portfolio’s weighted average capitalisation rate (WACR) firmed marginally to 6.17%.
Mr Anger said:
“The performance of the portfolio is consistent with the REIT’s strategy of providing investors with stable and secure income and targeting both income and capital growth, via an exposure to a high quality, diversified portfolio of long WALE properties".
Strengthened the REIT’s capital position
During 1H FY18, the REIT completed a number of capital management initiatives, which have expanded the debt platform and bolstered the overall strength of its capital position. These initiatives include:
As a result, key metrics as at 31 December 2017 include:
These initiatives are consistent with the REIT’s strategy to reduce impacts from interest rate fluctuations and maintain a conservative capital structure with balance sheet gearing at 31 December 2017 of 23.3%. When adjusted for the settlement of Virgin Australia Head Office, this results in pro- forma balance sheeting gearing of 28.6%, remaining within the 25% to 35% target range.
Strategy and outlook
Management continues to focus on actively managing the REIT to create value and deliver sustainable and growing returns for investors.
Barring any unforeseen events and no material change in current market conditions, CLW’s guidance for FY18 Operating EPS remains unchanged at 26.4 cents, representing:
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