Assura toasts strong year

The primary care developer and investor has reported another strong year of financial performance with pre-tax profits, portfolio size and rent roll all up in the year ended 31 March 2016.

Highlights include:

  • 78.0% increase in underlying profit before tax to £28.3m (2015: £15.9m)
  • 19.9% growth in investment property, to over £1.1bn (2015: £900m)
  • 3.9% growth in net asset value to 45.8p/share (2015: 44p)
  • 14.7% increase in rent roll to £63.8m (2015: £55.6m)
  • £28.8m profit before tax (2015: £36.6m) after £34.1m debt early repayment costs

During the year, Assura raised £300m from the issue of new shares to fund acquisitions and reduce debt.

The Warrington-based company, which develops and owns GP surgeries and primary healthcare centres, has a £134m pipeline of further acquisitions and developments.

Assura now has a loan-to-value ratio of 30%, comparatively low for commercial property companies, which “emphasises balance sheet strength, providing scope to grow the portfolio further within the company’s target gearing range.”

The company paid off £181m of Aviva loans and secured a new £200m unsecured revolving credit facility.

Simon Laffin, executive chairman, said: “The NHS is under great strain at the moment, but there is a growing consensus that more and better primary care is one of the answers to this. We need more GPs, to use them more effectively and with more diagnostic and specialist medical staff around them. We know that patients prefer being cared for by their local GPs and that this is much cheaper for the NHS than those patients going into A&E. Larger, better quality premises are crucial to house these enhanced services. Fortunately, the UK has a unique and efficient funding model in the primary care property sector that can deliver substantial additional private capital investment to support this, whilst allowing the Government to control costs.”

In March, the company announced that Graham Roberts, chief executive since 2012, was on a leave of absence, receiving treatment for cancer. There was no update today on Roberts’ condition.

Shares in Assura were unchanged at 57p, valuing the business at £942m.

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