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Axis REIT aims to grow assets to RM2b by 2013

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 18): Axis Real Estate Investment Trust (Axis REIT) aims to grow its asset portfolio by 56% to the RM2 billion mark by next year from the current size of RM1.28 billion.

In the nearer term, the REIT targets to achieve up to RM1.6 billion in assets by the end of this year, beginning with the addition of two warehouses in Penang with a combined value of RM110.5 million this month.

Axis REIT is eyeing RM545.3 million worth of acquisitions in the near to medium term, CEO Stewart Labrooy said during the announcement of the company's 4QFY11 unaudited financial results on Tuesday.

It had about RM411.7 million or about a third of its present total assets value when listed six years ago.

The company borrows to fund its new acquisitions and it carries out routine placements to keep the gearing level below 35%. Last month, it issued 75.2 million units of RM2.45 each to raise RM184.2 million to bring down its gearing ratio to 24% from 38.2%, a historical high.

Its fifth and next placement will take place sometime this year, and will potentially involve 90 million new units or 20% of the existing approved fund size of 453.8 million units to raise up to RM240 million.

The company's net profit for its FY11 ended Dec 31 dipped 20.2% to RM81.05 million from RM101.35 million a year ago.

Labrooy said this was due to a revaluation surplus recorded in 2010, amounting to RM45.6 million or nearly 45% of net profit that year.

Its realised income after taxation, excluding the surplus, grew 23.3% to RM64.8 million from RM52.6 million the previous year. Revenue rose nearly 28% to RM114.73 million from RM89.9 million before.

Rental income rose by more than a third due to the contribution from two new properties, higher occupancy rates with an average of 97.2% and positive rental negotiations. The company disposed of one property last year, resulting in a realised gain of RM784,813 which was distributed to unit holders as part of its second interim dividend for 2011.

It will pay out 17.2 sen in distribution per unit (DPU) for 2011, following a final income distribution of 1.4 sen per unit end-February.

Shares in Axis REIT closed unchanged at RM2.70, an all-time high for the stock.

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