Assura still on hunt for expansion oportunities

Warrington-based primary care developer Assura told the Stock Market today that it has continued to make good progress over the first half of its current trading year, having acquired 75 medical centres for £154m in the period up to 30 September.

The group completed three developments, including one in Manchester, in the six-month period, with a combined valuation of £10.8m and passing rent of £500,000.

The aggregate passing rent roll of the 75 new sites is £7.7m and they have a weighted average unexpired lease length of 12.7 years. Assura said: “This acceleration in the rate of our investment partly reflects the successful completion of a small number of portfolio transactions as well as the company’s ongoing progress in executing and refreshing its pipeline of individual investment opportunities.”

Assura, a FTSE 250 REIT with a portfolio currently valued at more than £1.3bn, added that it continues to see further opportunities for growth and retains a strong pipeline of future acquisitions and developments. The group now owns 475 medical centres with a total annualised rent roll of £83m, up from £74.4m in March.

The weighted average annual rent increase was 1.81% based on 88 reviews settled in the first half, of which the average annual rent increase derived from open market rent reviews was 0.83%.

In June, the company raised £98m from a share placing. Group borrowings currently stand at £591.7m, with a weighted average cost of debt of 3.78% and a weighted average debt maturity of 7.9 years. As of March this year, Assura’s proforma net loan to value ratio was 37%.

Jonathan Murphy, chief executive, said: “The pace in converting potential investment opportunities into acquisitions has been ahead of our expectations in the first half. The growth of our portfolio allows us to continue to build on our leading position in the sector and further benefit from increased economies of scale while also maintaining a sound balance sheet.

“There is strong support across the UK political spectrum for more investments in modern primary care premises, and Assura is well placed to deliver this in a market that is in critical need of financial support.”

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