Sirius declares dividend despite Covid-19


Sirius declares dividend despite Covid-19

Published Date: 2020-06-02 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Sirius declares dividend despite Covid-19

The German-focused real estate group has grown its rent roll by more than 5 percent for a sixth consecutive year.

Sirius Real Estate has emerged from lockdown conditions in Germany relatively unscathed, with rent collections in April and May almost in line with normal working practice. So far, it says it hasn't received any direct state financial assistance in connection with the Covid-19 crisis.

Releasing results for the year to end-March, the German-focused real estate group said rental enquiries were continuing at normal levels of a monthly average of about 1,200. Last month, it concluded 130 new lettings covering 11,282 square metres of space, while it achieved annual renewals of 74% of those properties with expiring leases in the first two months of its new financial year. A small number of tenants had asked to defer their payments due to Covid-19 related financial difficulties and it was addressing these on a case by case basis.

Sirius's top 50 tenants make up 44% of its rent roll and include some of the world's best-known multinational companies. While there had been a decrease in letting enquiries since the beginning of the crisis, it said more than a third of its portfolio was storage space, where there had been increased interest. A large portion also comes from Germany's Mittelstand (SMEs) which operate across a wide range of industries. These are the companies that the German government's funding package is intended to support.

Over the course of the year it completed the sale of a seed portfolio of properties into the Titanium joint venture with AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets. It retained a 35% stake in the portfolio and acts as the operator of the underlying assets, on a fee basis. It generated about €70 million from the sale and a further €120 million through financing activity. To date it has invested €120 million into seven acquisitions and a further €26 million back into the JV to fund its first external acquisition.

The group grew its annualised rent roll by 6.1% to €81.2 million on a like-for-like basis and funds from operations jumped 15% to €55.7 million. It said these were its key measures of operational performance. Its like-for-like book value improved by 9.9%.

Profit before tax declined by 23% to €111 million and earnings per share (EPS) were 25% lower at 9.55c. Headline EPS rose 4.2% to 4.51c and its net asset value increased by 8.9% to 77.35c per share. It raised its final dividend by 4% to 1.8c per share, taking its total dividend for the year 6.3% higher to 3.36c.

The company ended its 2020 financial year with a strong balance sheet supported by total cash balances in excess of €121 million, €96.6 million of which is unrestricted. In addition, it has €33.1 million of undrawn debt facilities.

Due to the ongoing uncertainty over the impact of Covid-19, Sirius said it wouldn't provide financial guidance for the year ahead.

Its shares rose 1.8% to R16.90 yesterday.

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