Raven lifts its net operating income by 7 percent to £126.5 million
THE RAVEN Property group said yesterday that it would put its energy into managing its operations through the current period after it had flagged that it did well to lift its distribution per share to 3.5 pence (R0.70) in the year to end December from 3p the previous year.
Chief executive Glynn Hirsch said that net operating income rose 7 percent to £126.5 million (2018: £118.3m) during the period while diluted net asset value per share was at 75p (48p).
Hirsch said the £1.34bn (£1.18bn) portfolio occupancy was 82 percent and cash balances yesterday stood at £104.4m.
Chairperson Sir Richard Jewson said in a statement that all aspects of the group’s portfolio of logistics warehouses in Russia had been strengthened in the past year.
Jewson said high average occupancy, improving asset valuations, increasing market rents, reducing interest rates and stable average rouble exchange rates in 2019 had all contributed to improved results.
He said the executive team had been diverted to deal with shareholder issues in the last 12 months.
Thirty-eight percent of Raven’s shares were purchased from the company’s two largest institutional shareholders. “As I write, the issues with coronavirus have been exacerbated by the oil price crash and the impact that has had on rouble exchange rates,” Jewson said.
“We have agreed an extension to the back stop date to acquire our shares from Invesco as a direct consequence of this. We have yet to see any tangible effect on our trading operations, but we are progressing with caution.”
Hirsch said the warehouse business had not yet seen an impact either of the spread of coronavirus or the recent movement in the oil price, which traditionally affected business in Russia.
“As with the majority of international businesses, we have implemented a number of preventative measures, stopping all non-essential travel, and increased monitoring of staff that do travel, and have implemented back-up plans for staff who work remotely,” said Hirsch.
He said potential environmental projects at the moment included introducing greater energy efficiency in buildings as part of the capital expenditure programme, through managing international travel better with greater use of technology, and carbon offsets, to the assessment of the impact of building a solar panel farm and the introduction of bee hives at one of Raven’s regional asset sites.
Raven shares closed unchanged on the JSE yesterday at R9.50.