Assura ‘robust’ despite uncertain times
The Warrington-based primary care investor has avoided the worst of the Covid-19 disruption and remained resilient with a strong pipeline of developments and acquisitions to progress over the next 12 months, it said.
The company also reported “normal patterns” in recent rent collection, in a trading update to the London Stock Exchange today. Assura’s portfolio commands an annual rent roll of £110m.
Assura has an immediate development pipeline totalling £60m – defined as projects due to commence within the next year, the statement said. Meanwhile, all of its current construction sites have remained active during the lockdown, with safety measures in place, further helping to place the firm on a “solid footing” for the year ahead.
The company also reported an immediate UK acquisition pipeline of £51m and expects to complete these acquisitions within the next three to six months.
During the first quarter of 2020, Assura completed seven acquisitions for a combined £35m, it said. It is also in discussions to buy the medical centre at Trafford Housing Trust’s Timperley Library – a deal expected to complete later this year.
Assura chief executive Jonathan Murphy said in the statement: “We’ve had an active first quarter, as we continued to deliver strategic and financial progress across all areas of the business, despite these uncertain times for the UK.
“Our business model remains resilient and robust, as demonstrated by normal patterns of recent rent collections and all our development sites being active in line with social distancing guidelines.”
He added: “Primary care will play a crucial role as the UK seeks to rebuild and recover from the Covid-19 crisis and we are engaging with the Government to ensure that it remains a key area of investment going forward.”
Assura’s property portfolio almost doubled in value during the 2019 financial year to £2.1bn, up from £1.9bn the previous year, the company said in May. At the time, Assura’s portfolio comprised 576 properties but this figure has dropped to 565, according to today’s update.
The drop is due to a spate of disposals in the last quarter, when Assura offload 20 properties for a combined £20m, it said.
Murphy told Place North West in May that the firm plans to spend £357m on new development projects over the next three to five years.