19 May 2012

Goodman Property Trust profit rises

9:45 am on 19 May 2012

Property investment company Goodman Property Trust has lifted its annual profit, thanks to higher rental income.

The company's profit rose to $40.5 million in the year to March, a 10% increase on the same period a year ago.

Rental income rose due to contributions from developments and recent acquisitions.

The trust admits rental growth remains flat while occupancy fell slightly to 96%. The average lease term has been preserved at 5.7 years.

Chief executive John Dakin says confidence is returning to the market, but the commercial property market remains highly competitive as firms try to cut costs.

He says economic growth is very weak which makes it difficult for businesses to grow their revenues and as a consequence they are very focussed on costs, such as rent.

Mr Dakin says in a weak economic environment it's essential to remain competitive.

He says the value of Goodman's $1.6 billion portfolio has fallen 10% since 2007, but prices are now stabilising and even improving.

As such, the company has decided to step up its development to $64 million as confidence continues to rise and while construction costs are low.

Distributable profit fell 4% to $74.8 million due to a higher effective tax rate from the removal of building depreciation deductions.

It declared a fourth quarter dividend of 1.5 cents a unit, taking its full year payout to 6.25 cents, compared to 7.74 cents last year.

Looking ahead, the trust is anticipating modest economic growth and hopes for a steady performance and maintain this year's dividend payout.

It has a portfolio of more than 20 commercial office, business park, and industrial properties valued at around $1.6 billion.