Assura to become REIT in spring

Warrington-based GP landlord Assura said it was making progress on the way to becoming a Real Estate Investment Trust in April 2013.

Assura reported improved half-year results for the six months to the end of September. Pre-tax profit was £6.5m compared to a £26.3m loss last year. The rent roll was £36.2m compared to £34.9m last time.

The group owns 160 surgeries and primary care centres around the UK, valued at £563m compared to £549m in March. There was a 2.35% annualised uplift on rent reviews settled in the period.

There is, Assura said, increasing pressure on primary care infrastructure from ageing and more demanding population. The company completed four developments and is on site or about to start with 11 others.

Graham Roberts, chief executive, said: "The stability of our valuations, our secure and growing income stream, and our progressive dividend policy have together enabled both a 3.6% increase in NAV and a 3.4% property return. This is despite the tough economic environment and falling property values elsewhere, demonstrating the robust characteristics of the primary care sector together with the quality of this business."

REITs offer property companies a more tax efficient structure and allow greater access to investors and capital. Roberts added: "We have increased our focus on communicating the Assura investment case to potential new investors. A key next step is conversion to REIT status. We have made good progress on the detailed mechanics and expect to make this election at the end of our current financial year."

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