Assura, Warrington health REIT, in £119m loss

Assura CEO Jonathan Murphy

Assura plc, the Warrington-based healthcare real estate investment trust (REIT), reported an IFRS loss before tax of £119.2 million for the year ended March 31, 2023, compared to a profit of £155.8 million for the prior year “reflecting valuation decline driven by outward yield shift.”

Net rental income rose 9% to £138 million for the FTSE 250 firm while Assura’s portfolio value slipped to £2.738 billion from £2.752 billion.

“Reflecting the recent unstable macroeconomic backdrop and movement in gilt yields, we, like most real estate companies, recorded a loss on valuation of £215.3 million in the period,” said Assura.

Passing rent roll increased 6% to £143.4 million, Net Initial Yield (NIY) widened 39 basis points to 4.87%, and EPRA earnings rose 12% to £96.8 million and EPRA EPS of 3.3p (2022: 3.1p)

Total contracted rental income stood at £1.77 billion, down from £1.81 billion.

Total dividends settled in the year to March 31 were £91 million or 3.08p per share (2022: 2.93p per share).

£2.1 million of this was satisfied through the issuance of shares via scrip.

Assura CEO Jonathan Murphy said: “Assura has again demonstrated the strength and reliability of its business model with another year of strategic progress and a strong financial performance, which has enabled us to grow EPRA earnings and deliver our tenth consecutive year of dividend growth.

“Taking a disciplined approach to capital deployment, we grew our net rental income by 9% to £138 million – adding 28 assets to our portfolio during the period through carefully-targeted acquisitions and completed developments, and also recycling capital through £78 million of disposals.

“We continue to deliver on new opportunities for growth – being on site with three schemes directly with NHS Trusts and having secured our first two forward-funding schemes in Ireland.

“Furthermore, we remain committed to maintaining the quality of our growing income stream – the majority of which is backed by the NHS – through value-enhancing portfolio management.

“Assura’s long-term growth platform is underpinned by our strong financial position, with a secure balance sheet, recently re-affirmed A- rating from Fitch and a debt book that is fully fixed – at 2.3% and with a weighted average maturity of seven years.

“As we embark on our 20th year of operation, the critical need for investment in primary care infrastructure is as pronounced as ever with hospitals under significant pressure – and it is reassuring this requirement has cross-party political support.

“Our vital role in relieving pressure on the health system through providing high-quality community healthcare buildings is clear, and our continued growth demonstrates that we remain a well-placed long-term partner for health care providers.

 “We remain confident in our strategy, attractive portfolio, pipeline of opportunities, and market-leading capabilities to continue providing compelling long-term returns for shareholders.”