The Warrington-based healthcare specialist has added £92m to its development pipeline with the acquisition of GPI while boosting rents in its full-year results.
The group’s pipeline now stands at around £292m following the acquisition, while its portfolio is just under £2bn.
Speaking to Place North West, chief executive Jonathan Murphy said the addition of London-based GPI would provide opportunities for Assura to “maximise the company’s existing long-term relationships”. Assura has taken on four GPI staff as part of the deal, along with its portfolio of sites, a number of which are based in the North West.
GPI’s £92m pipeline is primarily focussed on the South East but is spread across the country; Murphy said Assura maintains a “very strong profile in the North West which has been our most active region” with 58 properties under its belt.
Projects it has delivered in the last 12 months include a healthcare hub Gorton and a high-end medical centre in Heysham, along with a site in St Anne’s.
Murphy added the company’s development pipeline was now “the strong it has been in 10 years” and said Assura had seen some “real momentum and improvement” from the NHS.
“We’re trying to help the NHS with its challenges. Its single biggest issue is workforce, and property and technology have a real role to play in supporting that.
“Workforces need to be flexible and we need to provide the infrastructure for that. It’s not just about GPS; we need to focus on nurses, pharmacists, and preventative care, which is vital; Greater Manchester has some of the worst healthcare outcomes in England and devolution can help address that”.
The results, covering the year to 31 March 2019, showed pre-tax profit up to £84m, rising 17% from £71.8m a year earlier; net rental income of £95.2m, up 18.7% over the same period; and a 12.9% increase in rent roll, up to £102.7m from £91m.
The company now also has undrawn facilities and cash of £287m, up 44.2% from a year earlier.
Analysts from Stifel pointed at rental growth as the key highlight; a note to the stock market said that while a 1.1% increase from open market rent reviews was “not stellar”, it was the first time the 1% growth threshold had been crossed since 2012, and an increase from the 0.7% rise in rents from Assura’s previous full-year results.
The analyst is expecting the company’s increased development pipeline to “provide crucial evidence of rental growth”.