The entire board of Real Estate Investors (REI), the Birmingham AIM-listed property investment company, has backed the business by increasing their shareholding.
Paul Bassi, chief executive of REI plc, said: “Driven largely by market sentiment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, shares in REI have dropped from a high of 58p in July last year to below 35p recently.
“The fundamentals of the business remain solid, and unlike many, we are continuing to pay dividends, albeit at a reduced level which we anticipate will be temporary.
“We have therefore taken the decision, individually and collectively, to take this opportunity to demonstrate our faith in REI and our commitment to its medium to long term future, which we believe is very strong.”
Mr Bassi has purchased 426,936 shares at 34p taking his holding to 11,000,000 – 5.9% of the company. Finance director Marcus Daly has increased his shareholding by 200,000 shares to 2,256,304 and now holds 1.20%.
REI chairman John Crabtree, the former Wragge & Co senior partner, has bought a further 29,410 shares, and now holds 0.16%. Non-executive directors William Wyatt (145,000 shares, 0.12%) and Peter London (60,000, 0.08%) also increased their holdings.
Mr Bassi reiterated the points he made in a June trading update.
“Our diversified portfolio ensures that we have no material reliance on any single sector, asset or tenant, with our largest sector, by rental income, being offices at 38.12% and our largest occupier being the government at 7.98%.
REI is the UK’s only Midlands-focused Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) with a diversified portfolio of 1.59 million sq ft of investment property across all sectors.
Mr Bassi said: “Our portfolio consists of 58 assets and 277 occupiers, with £17.3 million contracted rental income and occupancy at 95.14% (December 31 2019: occupancy 96.3%).”
He added that the decision by all board members to back REI was not just demonstrating their support for the company, but also a massive vote of confidence in the West Midlands economy in general.
“With HS2 now confirmed, the Commonwealth Games creeping ever closer and the crane count around the city still rising, we believe real estate in Birmingham and the West Midlands is still a very strong sector, with huge potential.”