Assura making good progress but preparing for Covid-19 to delay pipeline

Assura Plc CEO Jonathan Murphy

Assura has said it is continuing to progress its acquisition and development opportunities in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, but is preparing for delays to on-site developments and start dates for its immediate pipeline.

In a trading update today, the specialist primary care REIT said its operating performance was in line with expectations in the fourth quarter ended 31 March 2020. Rent received was in line with normal patterns in March and during the month it completed £41m worth of acquisitions, taking the quarter total to 13 acquisitions valued at £54m.

Q4 also saw the development at Knebworth finished, three schemes progressed to on-site, one completed disposal and contracts exchanged for the disposal of 20 properties for a total consideration of £17m.

The company said its pipeline remains strong, with £77m worth of development expected on-site within the next 12 months. A further £67m of acquisitions are in the immediate pipeline and would normally expect to complete in three to six months. However, Assura said there was increased risk of delays in the timing of all pipelines due to Covid-19.

CEO Jonathan Murphy said: ‘Assura is working closely with the NHS and our GP partners to make sure we can best support the health service through the Covid-19 crisis. We are also assisting occupiers to optimise the use of space in their buildings and offering vacant space to the NHS where we can. We are continuing to follow closely the latest advice of the government and Public Health England, working with the contractors for our on-site developments.’

Assura’s portfolio currently stands at 576 properties with an annualised rent roll of £108.9m. As at 31 March 2020, gross debt was £847m with undrawn facilities of £220m.