Assura confident of further growth

The Warrington-based healthcare property landlord announced an increase in pre-tax profits and net asset value in the six months ended 30 September.

Assura enjoyed a 17.2% increase in total rent roll to £49.0m compared to the March 2014 level of £41.8m. The improving commercial property market and portfolio acquisitions lifted the group's net asset value by 21.1% to £809m (March 2014: £668m).

Since the end of the interim period covered in the statement, a share issue completed on 15 October raised £175m net of expenses, which chief executive Graham Roberts said would fund a "transformative step" in the business's growth.

The group's net loan to value ratio was 47% at 24 November 2014 and discussions are ongoing with lenders to reduce debt further.

Pre-tax profit leapt 35% % to £16.5m (2013: £12.2m) and therw was a 4.4% increase in net asset value per share to 45.3 pence (March 2014: 43.4 pence).

There will be an 11% increase in the next quarterly dividend to 0.5 pence per share, equivalent to 2.0 pence per share on an annual basis, following the 49% increase announced last year.

Graham Roberts, chief executive, said: "The strong results reflect the quality of our portfolio and the high level of activity at the group. We have come a long way in the last three years, and in October we took a further transformative step raising £175m through a share issue. This has allowed us to execute further value enhancing acquisitions since then. It has also strengthened our balance sheet, putting us in an excellent position to build on our leading position in the market and to continue to provide the modern primary care medical centres this country needs so much."

Shares in Assura were unchanged at 48p.

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