Assura strikes deal with USS and sees "attractive" opportunities ahead

(Alliance News) - Assura PLC on Tuesday highlighted its strong financial position and secure ...

Alliance News 21 May, 2024 | 9:29AM
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(Alliance News) - Assura PLC on Tuesday highlighted its strong financial position and secure balance sheet as it reported a rise in net rental income for the financial year.

In the year to March, the Altrincham, England-based primary care property investor and developer said net rental income increased 3.8% to GBP143.3 million from GBP138.0 million a year prior.

The pretax loss narrowed to GBP28.7 million from GBP119.2 million while losses per share were 1.0p compared to 4.0p last year.

On an EPRA basis, pretax profit rose 5.8% to GBP102.4 million from GBP96.8 million a year prior, Assura said.

Assura said the value of its investment property fell 1.1% to GBP2.71 billion from GBP2.74 billion a year prior, while the diluted EPRA net tangible asset per share fell 8.0% to 49.3 pence from 53.6p.

Assura said broader healthcare markets were becoming "meaningful" contributors to portfolio and cash flow while it noted a with pipeline of "attractive opportunities".

The company raised its quarterly dividend by 2.4% to 0.84p from 0.82p taking the full-year dividend to 3.24p from 3.08p a year prior, an increase of 5.2%.

Chief Executive Jonathan Murphy said: "We have continued our track record of growth to deliver another period of increased EPRA earnings and dividend, driven by our disciplined approach to investment, extensive sector expertise, and ability to identify new market opportunities. It is these capabilities, underpinned by our strong financial position and secure balance sheet, that make Assura best placed to meet the critical need for new and enhanced healthcare capacity in a community setting."

In addition, Assura announced a GBP250 million joint venture with Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd to support investment in essential National Health Service infrastructure.

Assura said it would hold a 20% stake in the partnership with USS, the principal pension scheme for universities and higher education institutions in the UK, holding the balance.

The joint venture has an initial term of 20 years and will be seeded with an initial agreed portfolio of seven assets, worth GBP107 million, transferred from Assura's existing portfolio at a small discount to the March 2024 valuation.

The joint venture is targeting acquisition-led growth to GBP250 million over the next three years, with potential to grow to GBP400 million thereafter.

"The transaction will further strengthen Assura's balance sheet, bringing additional diversity to the available funding sources to support Assura's continued growth trajectory," the company said in a statement.

Assura said it intended to recycle the net cash proceeds received, GBP85 million, into Assura's pipeline of acquisition and development opportunities across medical centres and broader healthcare markets.

Murphy called it an "exciting transaction" with a "high-quality and long-term capital partner in USS."

Shares in Assura fell 0.4% to 42.56 pence in London on Tuesday.

By Jeremy Cutler, Alliance News reporter

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Assura PLC 39.72 GBX 0.61 -

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