Assura boosts rent by 5%

Warrington-based healthcare property investor Assura Group said it made 'good strategic and operational progress' so far this financial year.

In a trading statement to the London Stock Exchange covering the period from 1 April, Assura said 24 rent reviews had increased rental income by 5.17% a year, equivalent to £200,000.

The average lease length is 16.5 years with more than 85% of rents reimbursed by the NHS, 11% of which are RPI linked and the annual rent roll is currently £32.3m.

Total property assets were valued at £519.6m on 31 March with a net asset value of £220.1m or 54p a share.

Among its current North West developments, Assura is on site with a GP surgery in Wallasey, Wirral and recently completed a £14m healthcare centre in Moor Park, Blackpool. Assura owns £500m of surgeries and primary care centres around the UK.

Since 1 April Assura has sold Assura Pharmacy for £39.3m, 'a significant step in fulfilling the company's strategic aim of becoming a pure play property company'.

Three developments with an end value of £21.1m were completed and a further three developments with an estimated end value of £5.9m were commenced.

The group is seeking further acquisition opportunities of both individual medical centres and portfolios.

The statement added: "Despite some uncertainty surrounding the NHS re-organisation, the company does not believe this will have a material impact on Assura's long term growth and expects further developments to commence this year."

Nigel Rawlings, chief executive of Assura, said: "We continue to make good progress in our strategy of becoming a pure play property company. Following the disposal of the pharmacy business the group has attracted new property investors as shareholders and there has been increased interest from real estate research analysts. With a robust property portfolio and healthy development pipeline, the Group is well positioned for future growth."

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