Grainger, Newcastle property giant, ups dividend

Grainger CEO Helen Gordon, left, and CFO Vanessa Simms

Newcastle-based Grainger plc, the UK’s largest listed residential landlord, said on Thursday it raised its interim dividend 6% “driven by rental growth and investment activity.”

For the six months ended March 31, 2020, Grainger said its net rental income rose 27% to £37 million and it had a rent collection rate of 95% for March and 94% for April.

Grainger said 60% of its income is now derived from private rented sector (PRS) assets, adding that “our PRS pipeline remains in progress, totalling £2bn of investment and c.9,000 new rental homes.”

Interim dividend per share increased 6% to 1.83p, despite first-half profit before tax falling 8.6% to £49.6 million and first-half revenue falling 19% to £86.9 million.

Grainger CEO Helen Gordon said: “Grainger is in a strong position financially and our portfolio is performing as expected, showing a high degree of resilience during these uncertain times.

“We have achieved high rent collection, strong rental growth and maintained occupancy levels over 97%.

“We have continued to grow our business, serve our customers and deliver new rental homes.  

“Our business has been focused on three key areas since the coronavirus lockdown: Innovate, Communicate and Improve.

“We have implemented new ways of serving our customers remotely and enabling safe interactions and property transactions using technology and virtual viewings.

“We have increased our contact with and support for our customers, suppliers and partners.

“And we have been investing in training for our employees so that we can emerge from this global crisis stronger. 

“Due to the strength of the business and the resilience of our sector, our dividend policy will be maintained, with a +6% increase in our interim dividend.

“Our focus for the rest of the year will remain on the continuity of service to our customers and the delivery of new rental homes, whilst ensuring the health and safety of all our employees, customers and suppliers remains our highest priority.”