Warehouse REIT raises dividend as it highlights shift to online shopping

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Warehouse REIT PLC (LON:WHR) raised its dividend and said its strategy is being supported by the structural shift to online shopping.

The AIM-listed firm said investors are actively seeking exposure to the type of assets it owns, especially as other key real estate sectors such as retail are being particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

E-commerce is driving demand in the UK industrial and warehouse sector, with a surge during COVID-19 lockdown when people had to stay at home.

According to official data, online sales made up 20.1% of total retail sales in January, rising to 32.8% in May and descending to 26.1% in September, which was still well above pre-pandemic levels.

As of October 29, the investor had collected 97% of the rent due for the quarters to June and to September, as well as 92% of the rent due for the three months to December.

In the six months to September 30, Warehouse REIT’s revenue jumped 13% to £15mln while profit before tax rocketed 93% to £40mln. The dividend was upped 3% to 3.1p per share.

At period-end, the portfolio was valued at £563mln, up from £450mln in March, while the net asset value (NAV) was 118.4p per share compared to 109.5p per share six months before.

Analysts at Peel Hunt upgraded the NAV forecasts for the year to March 2021 by 15% to 120p.

Shares added 3% to 110.97p on Tuesday morning.

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