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Thursday, November 6, 2008

AmFirst REIT posts bigger H1 revenue

COMMERCIAL ASSETS: Menara Merais, Kelana Brem Towers and Menara AmBank are among properties in AmFirst REIT's portfolio

AMFIRST Real Estate Investment Trust (AmFIRST REIT), the country's oldest property trust, saw a 63 per cent increase in revenue to RM45.4 million for the first half ended September 30 2008.

Net profit surged by 50 per cent to RM29.8 million from RM19.82 million a year ago.

The growth was attributed mainly by profit from its newly-acquired units at The Summit Subang USJ, which started to contribute from April 1.

There was also organic growth from positive rental reversion from tenancy renewals and tenant replacement, its manager Am ARA REIT Managers Sdn Bhd said in a statement yesterday.

As at September 30 2008, the average occupancy rate of AmFIRST's total properties stood at 88.26 per cent.

Am ARA chief executive officer Lim Yoon Peng said global uncertainties over real estate valuations, which developed during the period under review, have had an impact on investors' view on REIT stocks, reflected in depressed unit prices, and Malaysian REITS were not spared.

"Nevertheless, we believe fundamentals of the Malaysian property market remain firm," he said.

"REIT with good occupancy rates and strategies for development will be able to maintain steady dividend streams arising from the middle- to long-term nature of their tenancies, to the benefit of their unitholders," he added.

Lim said Am ARA will continue to extract the best value out of the existing assets in the trust's portfolio as there is still room to further improve the earnings capacity and potential.

AmFirst, listed in December 2006, is one of the larger commercial space REITs in Malaysia with six properties worth RM840 million in its portfolio. They are Bangunan AmBank Group, Menara AmBank, AmBank Group Leadership Centre, Menara Merais, Kelana Brem Towers and The Summit.

AmFIRST aims to diversify its portfolio via investments in profit-producing real estate, primarily used for commercial, retail and office purposes.

A distribution of 4.268 sen per unit, representing 100 per cent of AmFirst income after tax, has been declared. Based on AmFirst's market price of RM0.88 per unit (as at September 30), the distribution per unit represents an annualised yield of 9.7 per cent.

The book closure and payments date of the distribution is November 21 and 28 respectively.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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