Property investment firm remains committed to progressive dividend policy

Paul Bassi

Birmingham-based Real Estate Investors has reaffirmed that the AIM-listed real estate investment trust will continue to pay dividends, announcing that in accordance with its progressive dividend policy it will pay a third quarter dividend of 0.5p.

The confirmation comes in a year where virtually all quoted real estate stocks suspended dividend payments as coronavirus and lockdown took their toll.

Some are trickling back now with St Modwen, Custodian REIT and Residential Secure Income announcing in the past two weeks they would be returning to dividend payments.

But REI set out its stall from the onset and announced it would continue to pay out.

Chief executive Paul Bassi said: “REI has taken a cautious approach to dividend payments in the short term because of the second lockdown, however,  we remain committed to a progressive dividend policy. The diversity of our stable and secure portfolio, managed on a regional basis by an experienced team, remains the foundation of REI.

“This has allowed us to continue to pay dividends, while others have withdrawn their payments. We have now delivered £31.9 million in dividend payments to our shareholders since the commencement of our dividend policy, against a series of unprecedented events and the present global pandemic.”

Throughout the autumn, REI has continued a share buyback programme, committing to purchase the company’s ordinary shares of 100 each with an aggregate market value of up to £2m.

Bassi added: “We continue to operate without any exposure to prime fashion retail and department stores.

“Occupancy at our convenience, town centre and neighbourhood retail has been excellent during the first six months of 2020 and our office exposure, which is predominantly outside City centres and generally multi-let – between 1,000-5,000 sq ft – has seen renewed interest as occupiers look for locations closer to home with minimal travel and exposure to public transport for their employees.

“We also believe that recent government planning legislation will almost certainly provide opportunities to make capital gains from change of use to residential.

“We remain confident in our ability to operate a profitable regional property company, committed to a dividend policy, based in the heart of the Midlands, where we expect activity to prosper over the coming months and welcome the further economic benefits of Coventry City of Culture year in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in 2022.”