A strategic emphasis on diversification and strong tenant relationships has resulted in Real Estate Investors plc (REI) being able to revise its March-June quarterly rent collection figures.
REI, the UK’s only Midlands-focused real estate investment trust (REIT), headquartered in Birmingham city centre, has annual revenues of £16.6 million from nearly £230 million in assets. Occupancy figures to its 31 December 2019 year end were 96%.
A statement issued by the Birmingham-based investment business said: “REI is pleased to report rent collection for the March quarter (March to June) has now risen to 90.16% (adjusted for monthly and deferred agreements) from 81% reported in our 15 June trading update.
“The June quarter (June to September) rent collection so far is 81.94% (adjusted for monthly and deferred agreements), a direct reflection of the diversification of our portfolio and strong relationship with our tenants.”
Paul Bassi, chief executive of REI, said: ““The stability and diversity of our asset base remains the key ingredient for the continued success of our rent collection and the resilience of our property portfolio.”
REI currently has 280 occupiers in 53 locations across the Midlands.
Mr Bassi added: “Based on current constructive dialogue with a number of tenants, we anticipate that rent collections for both periods will improve as these tenants recommence trading from their premises.
“Many tenants have taken this opportunity to engage with us and explore lease event opportunities in return for incentives, which has proven beneficial for the tenant and provided REI with capital enhancement potential.
“However, there are some established tenants who have the ability to pay but are delaying doing so, using the ongoing restriction imposed by the government on the ability of landlords to recover rent, these arrears will be pursued at the appropriate time and the Company expects to secure full rental payments.”
He said he was encouraged by signs that business was generally recovering in its core market in the Midlands.
“Generally, our tenants confirm they are gradually returning towards normalised trading with convenience retail continuing to outperform historic trading levels, a sector that REI has a healthy exposure to,” he said.
“We are further encouraged by the increasing number of inquiries from investors for certain assets that have proven resilient during the Covid crisis. We will consider selective and opportunistic sales, as we acquire new assets that we believe provide income and capital upside.”
As announced on 15 June, a dividend of 0.5p per share will be paid on 24 July 2020 as a Property Income Distribution, to all shareholders on the register as at 26 June 2020.
Mr Bassi concluded: “REI plc remains fully operational with staff now having the ability to work flexibly from our offices in a safe environment, collaboratively working together to pursue opportunities and asset management initiatives that will drive capital and income growth and underpin the future success of the business.”