Primary care property investor and developer Assura has issued a trading update for the first half of the year to 30 September 2020.

It said it has a growing portfolio of 576 properties with current annualised rent roll of £113.3 million. It has completed six developments at Stafford, Netherfield, Cinderford, Great Barr, Stourbridge and St Leonards at a combined cost of £38 million, adding that Cinderford is the UK’s first ever dementia-friendly space.

Six schemes have moved onto site and 20 acquisitions have been completed for a combined cost of £80 million. A total of 26 assets have been disposed of for £23 million; 13 lease regears completed (£1.1 million of existing rent); and one capital asset enhancement project was completed and three are currently on site (at a combined spend £0.6 million).

Rent collections have been in line with normal patterns. Some rents from pharmacy and ancillary services are being paid in monthly instalments along with some short-term deferrals. Rental concessions totalling less than £0.1 million have been agreed.

Assura stated that its developments and acquisition pipeline is providing significant growth opportunities and it is currently on-site with 15 developments at a total cost of £77 million. Its immediate development pipeline totals a further £65 million and these are schemes which it expects to be on site within 12 months

The immediate acquisitions pipeline stands at £90 million, which it says it would normally expect to complete in three-to-six months. It has 42 lease re-gears covering £5.5 million of existing rent roll in the current pipeline. It has a pipeline of 19 capital asset enhancement projects (with a projected spend of £14 million) over the next two years.

At of 30 September 2020 Assura says its net debt stood at £1,067 million with undrawn facilities of £300 million and cash of £310 million. Its oversubscribed social bond raised £300 million at a coupon of 1.5%. The company’s revolving credit facility facility will be reduced from £300 million to £225 million during October following the successful social bond. And Assura’s 10-year 4.75% £110 million secured bond maturing in December 2021 is to be repaid this month.

Assura chief executive Jonathan Murphy said: “Over the last six months as a whole we have been focused on working closely with the NHS in its response to the pandemic and ensuring that primary care buildings of today and the future are more fit for purpose. With the combined challenges of winter flu season and Covid-19 on the horizon, we are speaking to our occupiers about how we can best support the services in our communities, while listening to patients to understand how our spaces can help them feel confident in accessing these services. We are also engaging government on the clear role investment in community health infrastructure will play as part of the country’s recovery.

“We are making good progress on our recently-launched social impact strategy and launched our first social bond and finance framework to fund eligible social projects and deliver against our development pipeline last month. This will further support our work in our communities through our new Assura Community Fund, which ran its first national grant round to support community health projects during this half.

“It’s clear that flexible, fit-for-purpose capacity for health services in our communities will be key in the NHS’s efforts to address waiting lists and pent-up demand moving through and beyond this winter. Our strong strategic progress across all areas and resilient business model continues to position us well as the NHS’s partner of choice in these uncertain times and beyond.”

Date published: October 7, 2020

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