Stenprop’s rent collections high despite virus

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CAPE TOWN – Stenprop, the UK multi-let industrial (MLI) property company, said yesterday that it had received 81percent of rent invoiced for the quarter starting March 25, and the month starting April 1.

Many property groups in the UK and South Africa have been struggling to collect full rentals due to the dramatic fall-off in normal trading as businesses close through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief executive Paul Arenson said Stenprop was pleased with the progress made on rent collections.

“Our ability to be in direct communication with our customers has assisted significantly, and we expect to make further progress on these collection rates over time.”

He said the occupational market performed strongly in the first quarter due to an uptick in business confidence following the UK General Election in December.

“We completed a high number of lettings and renewals substantially ahead of previous passing rents, albeit overall occupancy declined due to a few large units being returned to us at lease expiry, as anticipated,” he said.

In an update yesterday, the group said 79percent of all rent invoiced was for the quarter commencing March 25, and ending June 24, of which 85percent was paid by April 30.

Twenty-one percent of all rent invoiced was for the month of April 2020, of which 66percent was paid by April 30.

For the MLI portfolio, 75percent of rent invoiced had been paid by April 30.

Twenty-eight new lettings and 25 lease renewals were completed in the first quarter, covering 186513 square feet and generating £1.03million (R24m) per year of rental income.

The vacancy rate, including Coningsby Park, Peterborough, was 8.9percent, up from 7.5percent.

Two multi-let industrial estates were acquired, Brookfoot Business Park in Brighouse and Clarendon Court in Warrington, for £9.7m.

The estates comprise 49 tenants across 142000 square feet with an average occupancy of 95percent, and provide £803000 of rental income per year.

At March 31, 2020, MLI comprised 57.3percent of Stenprop’s portfolio and loan-to-value, when cash of £60m was added, was 29.5percent.

Stenprop shares closed 6.69 percent lower at R20.51 on the JSE yesterday.


By Edward West


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