Healthcare property group well positioned for future, says CEO

Assura CEO Jonathan Murphy

Warrington healthcare property firm Assura achieved better annual income for the year to March 31, although it experienced a dip in pre-tax profits, it announced today.

Gross rental and related income of £111.5m was up from £102.4m a year ago. However, a pre-tax profit of £78.9m was less than the previous year’s level of £84m, figures showed.

The group finished the fiscal year with a strong portfolio of 576 properties with passing rent roll up six per cent to £108.9m (2019: £102.7m).

As at March 31, 2020, the portfolio value was up eight per cent to £2.139bn compared with £1.979bn last year.

It enjoyed continued strong progress with developments, bolstered by the acquisition of GPI, with four schemes completed, and a further 15 on site at a total cost of £81m.

The group’s dividend also increased to 0.71 pence per share with effect from the July 2020 payment.

It has an immediate development pipeline totalling £77m; an acquisitions pipeline at £67m in legal hands; and asset enhancement capital projects of £17m.

Today it also announced an extension of its revolving credit facility to November 2024.

Chief executive Jonathan Murphy said: “With the outbreak of COVID-19, the importance of the NHS to our society has never been more apparent.

“Assura has worked closely with the NHS and our GP partners since the onset of the crisis, to make sure we can best support the health service while also focusing on the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, occupiers and their patients.

“Assura has always been focused on fulfilling our purpose of creating outstanding spaces that best support the health services in all of our communities.

“Over the last financial year, we have assessed our strategy to see where we can make a greater contribution to society.

“Following this evaluation, we are placing our social performance at the heart of our strategy and launching a plan to make Assura the UK’s leading listed property business for long-term social impact.

“The intention is both exciting and ambitious and we look forward to updating on progress against our targets.

“As an initial step in achieving this objective, we were delighted to announce in April of this year the launch of the Assura Community Fund, with an initial funding of £2.5m from our recent successful equity raise.

“This will work to support the charities, voluntary organisations and community groups working across the UK around Assura’s healthcare buildings, to support healthier communities for the public benefit.”

He said: “Assura has delivered another strong year, reflecting our predictable business model. Assura’s financial strength and market-leading capabilities position it well to continue its support of the NHS as primary care becomes increasingly integral to reducing pressure on Britain’s health service.”