Assura disposal programme continues

Warrington-based healthcare property developer Assura Groupsaid it was happy with performance in the first quarter of the financial year, in an interim management statement to the Stock Exchange.

The statement covered the period from 1 April to 15 August 2012. Assura said rent roll since 31 March increased by £900,000 to £35.8m, an rise of 2.43%, primarily from asset management and development. The average weighted unexpired lease term stands at 16.2 years (August 2011: 16.5 years.)

There were 42 rent reviews during the period, delivering a 2.14% weighted average annual rent increase. There was an uplift in passing rent of £340,000, or 8.96% on the reviewed rent, reflecting mainly three and five year rent review periods.

More than half the non-income producing buildings identified as non-core at 31 March have been sold or are in solicitors' hands, raising £2.7m at an average 10% premium to their book value at 31 March 2012.

Graham Roberts, chief executive, said: "We continue to seek solutions for the remaining non-core assets, including the former head office [in Daresbury] and surplus land."

Roberts added that work continues to prepare the business to convert into a Real Estate Investment Trust.

He went on: "I am very pleased with our progress in the first quarter. We delivered a solid performance with the Group's continued focus on asset management and development leading to an increased rent roll and new development opportunities. Primary care property is an attractive asset class and the sector has proven its relative value with economic and political pressures supporting its continued growth. Assura's reputation as a leading operator in the sector, combined with its skills and record of outperformance, means that the group is well placed to capitalise on market opportunities as they arise."

Shares in Assura were unchanged at 31p.

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