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Primary Health Properties - Healthy REITing

Primary Health Properties - Healthy REITing

Primary Health Properties (LON:PHP) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that holds a portfolio of 484 primary health facilities in the UK (94% of the portfolio) and Ireland (6%). The business model is to manage the properties for rental income and to grow the portfolio over time. The asset base has some attractive characteristics for yield-focused investors:

  • 90% government-backed rent
  • 99.5% occupancy rate
  • Weighted average unexpired lease time: 13.4 years

This stable rental income base has allowed PHP to pay a steadily growing dividend, with increases every year since listing in 1997.

We would normally expect a 'safety' play like PHP to offer commensurately lower returns to shareholders; however, PHP has achieved a 14.1% annual total shareholder return over the last five years, versus 4.6% for the UK REIT sector. In this report we examine PHP's strong financial returns in terms of:

  • Solid rental income yield on property
  • Low-cost ratio

We also examine PHP relative to sector peers on other characteristics such as lease terms and rental escalations.

We believe that the conditions remain in place for PHP to continue generating strong returns in the next few years, and to continue its unbroken run of dividend increases. Furthermore, in March 2019 PHP completed its transformational merger with MedicX, providing an enlarged portfolio, further improved cost ratio, and likely reduced the cost of financing over time. We include these factors in our detailed forecasts (pages 9-11) which support continued outperformance for the shares.

Full report is available via Capital Network website
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Primary Health Properties PLC Timeline

Related Researches

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April 30 2019

Custodian REIT (LON:CREI) released its quarterly net asset value (NAV) update on April 30. The release shows a NAV of £426.6mln, unchanged versus December 2018, and NAV total return per share (definition in the release) of 5.9%. Occupancy remains high at 95.9%.

The property portfolio valuation is down by £5mln during the quarter at £527.7mln. This is due to a reduction in the valuation of the high street retail portfolio, which we believe is not a surprise to the market. We note that high street retail now comprises 12% of the overall portfolio weighted by income.

The release describes a subdued environment for investment activity in the UK non-residential property market, due to political uncertainties, but continued resilient economic activity supporting leasings, particularly in the Industrial market (38% of portfolio) and regional offices (11%).

Custodian has announced a target dividend of 6.65p for FY March 2020e, continuing a run of dividend increases since listing in 2014. Custodian now offers a 5.8% dividend yield for FY Mar 2019, versus 3.4% for the sector, as benchmarked by the iShares UK Commercial Property ETF (LON:IUKP).

We consider Custodian's dividend to be well supported by a number of factors:

  • Dividend fully covered by net rental earnings
  • Low balance sheet gearing
  • Low portfolio concentration, with no tenant comprising more than 3.5% of rental income

We consider some of these metrics in more detail on p2.

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October 25 2018

Custodian REIT PLC (LON:CREI) issued its quarterly NAV (net asset value) update for the three months ended September 30,  on October 23. The company reported a NAV total return per share of 2.3% for the period (NAV increase plus dividend approved), and a reduction in net gearing to 20.5% loan-to-value, from 21.0% on June 30. Custodian acquired five new properties during the period with net initial yields of between 6.38% and 9.79%. More details are on p2.

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January 29 2019

Custodian REIT (LON:CREI) released its quarterly net asset value (NAV) updated on 29 January. This was in line with our expectations.

NAV Total Return +1.0% in the quarter. Portfolio net initial yield (a measure of property income yield) of 6.6%. Balance sheet gearing remains low at LTV (loan-to-value) ratio of 24.7%.

We believe that all of the key dynamics remain intact to sustain continuing strong shareholder returns.

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