Raven lifts its net op­er­at­ing in­come by 7 per­cent to £126.5 mil­lion

Pretoria News - - BUSINESS REPORT - ED­WARD WEST Ed­[email protected]

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.

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