GPT Suffers $519.1m Earnings Hit


Diversified property group GPT has suffered a heavy hit to its half-yearly earnings, reporting a net loss of $519.1 million on Monday.

A negative property valuation to the value of $711.3 million heavily impacted the results, with the company deciding to move ahead with logistics developments and put retail projects on hold.

While an interim distribution of 9.30 cents was given, GPT pulled distribution guidance for the full year “given the unprecedented circumstances that continue to evolve”.

Funds from operations in the half yearly results were $244.5 million, dropping 23.3 per cent to 12.55 cents per security.

GPT moved ahead in the resilient logistics sector, completing three developments worth $89.1 million with a weighted average lease expiry of 7.5 years and also acquiring two facilities in Melbourne for $74.6 million with a weighted average lease expiry of 7.6 years

GPT’s chief executive Bob Johnston said the impact of coronavirus lockdown measures on the operations of their assets was most pronounced in the retail sector.

“We have had all our assets revalued during the period, with our retail assets revalued by independent valuers in May and again at the end of June as the effects of the pandemic were becoming more apparent,” Johnson said.

“The independent valuers have made allowances for both the near-term impacts of the pandemic and also the effects that it is expected to have on the broader economy.”

Related: Weak Retail Hits GPT Bottom Line

The group deferred the planned retail expansion of the Rouse Hill Town Centre and the Melbourne Central office and retail development and withdrew short and long term incentive plans.

Despite uncertainty created by Covid-19 occupancy across GPT remains tight with logistics at 99.8 per cent, office at 94.4 per cent and retail at 98.0 per cent.

Funds management earnings, driven by the group’s wholesale office fund, increased by 6.6 per cent to $24.2 million compared to the previous period.

GPT also issued $300 million of 12-year medium term notes at a margin of 160 basis points .

“We are well placed to navigate through the pandemic period. We have been prudent in the way we have managed the business,” Johnston said.

“We have a strong balance sheet and liquidity of $1.2 billion that ensures that we are also well-positioned to continue to execute on our strategy.”

Moody’s vice president Saranga Ranasinghe said despite a weakening in gearing and leverage, GPT’s credit metrics remain within the thresholds for the A/A2 credit ratings.

“GPT reported credit-negative results for the six months to June 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic drove a 10.5 per cent decline in retail asset values and cash collections from retail dropped to 63 per cent,” Ranasinghe said.

“However, the trust continues to benefit from the diversification and quality of its asset portfolio, with the improved performance of the logistics segment amid robust demand for logistics assets partially offsetting the weakness in retail.

“The trust also continues to benefit from strong liquidity, with no near-term debt maturities.”

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