CapitaMall Trust benefits from high occupancy rate in 2009

CapitaMall Trust (CMT) said it will pay 2.4 Singapore cents per unit for its fiscal fourth quarter.

The distribution per unit (DPU) is 24.4 per cent higher than a year ago, after adjusting for a rights issue last year.

Shoppers were still thronging the malls last year, despite Singapore’s economic recession. And that was good news for CMT, which saw positive growth for the year ended 2009.

For the full year, CMT’s distribution per unit rose about 18 per cent on-year to 8.85 Singapore cents. Its distributable income was 18.3 per cent higher to about S$282 million.

Net property income rose more than 10 per cent to S$377 million. CMT benefited from an occupancy rate of 99.8 per cent last year despite the downturn.

Simon Ho, CEO, CapitaMall Trust Management, said: “Last year itself, not all retailers were in an expansion mode, some retailers were in bad shape, but we were able to engage retailers in a very professional way. We helped those that needed help; we squeezed a bit more rental from those who could afford to pay.”

In the past year, the real estate investment trust (REIT) also started its asset enhancement work on its Raffles City mall and Jurong Entertainment Centre, which are expected to contribute to DPU growth in 2011 and 2012.

A new link will be built from Raffles City Basement 2 to the new circle line Esplanade Station. This means shoppers will soon be connected to three MRT lines in the vicinity of Raffles City. The expected completion date of the link is the end of this year.

Demolition works on the REIT’s second asset, Jurong Entertainment Centre, have already started. The renovation is due to be completed in early 2012.

CMT said it is bullish about prospects ahead. The REIT said it continues to expect stable retail rents in the year ahead.

Mr Ho said: “Feels much better than the cold winter we experienced last year, so the outlook is definitely much more positive.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 22 Jan 2010

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