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Custodian REIT focused on rent collections during coronavirus pandemic

Custodian said it expects its next two quarterly dividend payments to be a minimum of 0.75p share regardless of rental collection

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Secondary retail will see further deterioration says the REIT

Custodian REIT PLC (LON:CREI) has reported a total return of 1.1% in the year just ended but said that in the current coronavirus (COVID-19) environment its focus is on rents and cashflow.

In an update, the firm said its net asset value for the year ended March, 31, 2020, was 101.6p per share, albeit down from 104.4p as at end-December 2019, alongside of which the investment trust is paying a 6.65p total dividend.

WATCH: Custodian REIT confident on outlook for commercial property as it focuses on rent collections

The company has now changed its dividend policy, however, which will be based for the time being on how much rent comes in, trust manager Richard Shepherd-Cross said in the statement.

"In the near-term, of even more importance than the NAV derived from current valuations is the absolute focus on rent collection, future cash flow, ongoing asset management and the affordability of future dividends," he added.

Custodian said it expects its next two quarterly dividend payments to be a minimum of 0.75p share regardless of rental collection, though if totals in the June and September quarters allow, higher payments might be possible

In April, the trust said 74% of the rent contractually due has been collected and 14% has been deferred by agreement with some tenants now paying monthly in advance rather than quarterly.

Shepherd-Cross added: "It is too early to assess the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the commercial property market but we believe it may accelerate pre-existing trends in the use of, and investment in, commercial property. 

“We expect to see a further deterioration in secondary retail, an increase in demand for flexible office space (both traditional offices, fitted out and leased flexibly, as well as serviced offices) and a continuation of the growth of logistics and distribution. As always, we would expect location to be a key determinant of the future success of commercial property assets.”

Quick facts: Custodian REIT

Price: 87.6 GBX

LSE:CREI
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £3.71 m
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