The logistics investor increased its operating profit by £8.8m to £122.5m for the year ending 31 December 2019, but its chairman warned that “early positivity [for 2020] may be tempered by coronavirus”.
Tritax Big Box REIT’s portfolio value stood at £3.94bn at the end of 2019, a 15.2% increase from 2018. The company’s rent roll increased by 3.4% to £166.6m, according to its annual results announced on the London Stock Exchange today. During 2019, Tritax delivered 4.7m sq ft of logistics space, 93% of which was pre-let or let during construction. This added £22.5m to its gross rental income. Tritax has 3.2m sq ft of logistics space under construction, 92% of which is pre-let.
The company has a near-term development pipeline of 11.5m sq ft, 45% of which has planning consent. This has a gross rental income potential of £65m. Plans for selective investment asset disposals are underway for 2020.
Tritax acquired an 87% stake in Manchester-based warehouse developer DB Symmetry in February 2018, after raising £250m through a share issue. The developer secured planning consent this year on the £73m Tritax Symmetry logistics park in Wigan, totalling 1.4m sq ft. Work is due to start on site later this year, and completion is estimated for 2027.
Richard Jewson, chairman of Tritax Big Box REIT, said: “2019 was an important year in the evolution of the company. We acquired and integrated a prime logistics platform to complement our high-quality investment portfolio.
“The core of our business remains unchanged, with 89% of our portfolio comprising of new, modern standing assets.”
The occupational market remained “healthy” last year, he added. “Speculative supply of larger scale logistics buildings markedly decreased and demand outstripped supply for grade a logistics stock.
“With a large overhang of probable lettings ‘under offer’, driven by demand for logistics space over 500,000 sq ft, initial prospects for 2020 look good.”
However, Jewson said the coronavirus outbreak is “already impacting [the company’s] global growth,” and that it is “continuing to monitor the situation”.
Shares in the company fell 11p to 87p this morning. valuing the business at £1.7bn.