Jonathan Murphy Assura
Almost 10% of the population is cared for in an Assura GP surgery, said chief executive Jonathan Murphy

Assura raises £185m through share placing

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The Warrington-based primary care developer and investor issued more than 240m shares yesterday, raising £185m to fund its development and acquisition pipeline.

Assura is a FTSE 250-listed company. According to a statement to the stock market, the share raise, which represents 10% of Assura’s share capital, was already planned prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

The business has previously turned to the stock market to raise additional capital, with two share placements in 2017 which raised £400m, and a £300m bond issue in 2018.

Assura is one of the few property companies that has seen its share price increase over the past quarter, paying out an interim dividend this month where many are cancelling or postponing in the face of cashflow challenges relating to Covid-19 disruption.

The company’s share price on closing last night was 83.5p. The price today following the share issue is 77.1p.

Assura said in its statement: “Our predictable business model demonstrates our resilience in these uncertain times with no change to the current business plan.”

The funding will “enable the company to continue to deliver purpose built, modern, medical centres to support local communities, while maintaining the strong balance sheet that enables the company to be a long-term partner to the NHS.”

Assura has an immediate pipeline of developments and acquisitions valued at £155m.

Jonathan Murphy, chief executive of Assura said: “The importance of the NHS to society has never been more apparent than it is now in dealing with COVID-19. Assura has been doing all we can to support the health service and our GP partners where possible, such as assisting occupiers to optimise the use of space in their buildings and offering any vacant space to the NHS.

“GPs are the foundation to both the NHS and to their communities, and for the last 17 years Assura has been focusing on providing these GPs the modern medical space to allow them to help their patients. 8.5% of the UK’s population is now cared for by GPs in one of Assura’s buildings.

“We feel we are very well placed to help the NHS. We have extremely close relationships with the GPs, understand their needs, and have an experienced team that can navigate the complex medical and real estate requirements. GPs need more modern space; 50% of the current GP space is deemed to be not fit for purpose while the pressures on GPs from an ageing population continue to grow.”

Overall, Assura has 576 healthcare properties in its portfolio giving an annual rent of £108m, and 15 developments on site with a cost of £81m. There are £77m of projects due on site in the next year.

Among its schemes, Assura is on site with a £2.1m medical centre at Trafford Housing Trust’s £7m Timperley Library redevelopment, which it will purchase once the wider scheme completes later this year.

The investor owns 56 buildings in the North West valued at £323m on 30 September 2019.

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