Assura consolidates rental income

The primary healthcare investor-developer saw rents increase by an average of 2.13% in the year to date as it settled 106 rent reviews with tenants and disposed of low value sites.

However, the Warrington-based group said rent roll in total dipped slightly following the sale of its former head office in Daresbury, which generated £900,000 rent a year.

In an interim management statement for the period from 1 October 2012 to 30 January 2013, Assura said the annualised rent roll was £35.7m (September 2012: £36.2m).

Assura has been offloading non-core and poorer properties. More than two thirds by value of the non-core assets held for sale at September 2012 have either now been sold or are agreed to be sold.

Assura said in today's statement: "The largest remaining non-core asset which has a conditional sale agreement in place is a parcel of land in Scarborough. Outstanding planning issues have now been resolved. The final stage is a statutory road closure notice and on completion the group would receive £7m, which is some 27% above current book value."

The board has decided to raise the dividend to shareholders by 6% starting from the next quarterly payment in April 2013, which will be 0.3025 pence per share, equivalent to 1.21 pence per share on an annualised basis.

Assura is in the process converting to a real estate investment trust on 1 April 2013.

Graham Roberts, chief executive, commented: "Assura's business continues to develop in line with our strategy, facilitating the NHS reforms through providing fit for purpose medical premises in the community. We have 11 high quality developments on site or about to commence. REIT conversion is the next stage, combined with delivering on our promise of a progressive dividend."

Shares in Assura were unchanged at 34p, valuing the business at £178.61m.

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