Ascendas India Trust’s NPI up 1% to $73.5m in H1

DPU is declared at 4.56 cents.
Ascendas India Trust (a-iTrust) saw its net property income (NPI) inched up 1% YoY to $73.5m in H1 from $73.1m in H1 2019, the company revealed in an SGX filing. Total property income also rose 3% YoY to $98.99m from $96.48m over the same period of comparison.
This was attributed to the income from Anchor building at the International Tech Park Bangalore (ITPB) and positive rental reversions, partially offset by lower utilities and carpark income as a result of the COVID-19-related lockdown in India.
Income to be distributed skyrocketed 36% YoY to more than $53.1m in H1, with distribution per unit (DPU) at 4.64 cents, up 24% YoY from 3.75 cents in H1 2019. In Indian rupee terms, DPU is at 2.44 rupees.
This was mainly driven by the increased NPI, higher interest income from investments in various properties (namely Arshiya, AURUM IT SEZ, aVance 5&6 and BlueRidge 3), lower current tax expenses, and higher provision of Singapore goods and services tax.
From January-June, total property expenses increased 9% YoY to $25.47m from $23.41 in H1 2019 mainly due to higher allowance for expected credit loss. This was partially offset by lower utilities expenses during the lockdown.
Sanjeev Dasgupta, CEO of a-iTrust, noted that attendance to their IT parks is increasing slowly as most tenants remain cautious amidst the pandemic.
“Operationally, all our IT parks have remained open throughout the first half of 2020, including the lockdown period to support our tenants’ operations. Park Square, our retail mall in [ITPB], reopened on 8th June after 12 weeks of mandatory closure but has been closed again from 14th to 21st July due to Bangalore city lockdown,” Dasgupta said.
As at 30 June, a-iTrust’s committed portfolio occupancy remained healthy at 98%.
a-iTrust stated that it remains in a strong financial position to fulfil all its financial and operational obligations. As at 30 June, the trust has a low gearing ratio of 29% and ample total debt headroom of $1.1b. Cash and undrawn committed facilities amounted to $198m.
Out of the trust’s total borrowings, 82% were effectively on a fixed-interest rate basis and 65% were hedged into Indian rupees.
Meanwhile, existing projects under construction, including those in the trust’s committed forward purchase pipeline, were affected by the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent labour shortages.
Most notably the construction of MTB5, a 0.7 million square feet multi-tenanted building in ITPB which is fully pre-leased, is expected to complete by the second half of 2020.
Bluetooth scan tool