NewRiver has “significant growth opportunities” as it strengthens balance sheet

26th July 2023 | Jack Oliver

The boss of NewRiver has said that the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has “significant growth opportunities”, as its cash position during the first quarter rose to £137m.

Speaking ahead of the REIT’s annual general meeting, chief executive Allan Lockhart said that the increase in its cash position was driven by “disciplined capital recycling and [its] excellent operational performance”.

During the first quarter ending 30 June, NewRiver said it had completed 177,300 sq ft of leasing, with long-term rents up 13.7%.

The REIT, which operates a portfolio of 26 shopping centres and 12 retail parks, said its occupancy rate had risen to 97.1% versus 96.7% in March, while its retention rate rose to 98% during the first quarter, up from 92% the previous year.

NewRiver’s “profitable capital recycling” included the disposal of Kittybrewster Retail Park in Aberdeen and the Glendoe and Telford Retail Parks in Inverness, the final properties in the Napier Joint Venture. The REIT said this generated a sale value of £62.2m and brought the total sales receipts from the Napier JV to £76m, 26% higher than the price paid in 2019.

Allan Lockhart said: “The excellent operational performance that we delivered in our last financial year has continued into our first quarter with a good leasing performance leading to a further increase in occupancy and a leasing retention rate of nearly 100%. We continue to see strong occupational demand underpinned by a resilient UK consumer.”

He added: “We now have significant growth opportunities available to us – underpinned by our substantial cash holdings and through the expansion of our capital partnerships, driven by our extensive sector expertise. We will allocate our capital wisely as and when attractive opportunities arise.”


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