Our investment properties were independently valued at £1.09 billion as at 30 June 2015 (including forward funded commitments), representing an increase of £114.80 million or 11.7% over the aggregate acquisition price (excluding acquisition costs).
The portfolio's contracted rental income has increased to £58.87 million per annum (30 June 2014: £20.84 million), including forward funded assets.
Dividends declared in relation to the six months ending 30 June 2015 (the "period") totalled 3.0 pence per share, putting us on track to meet our stated 6.0 pence per share target for 2015.
Total return for the six month period of 10.71% compared to our target of 9% per annum for the medium term.
We raised an additional £229 million of equity during the period, issuing 159.09 million new shares at an issue price of 110 pence per share in March 2015, and a further 47.79 million new shares at an issue price of 113 pence per share in June 2015, pursuant to the Company's share issuance programme which expired on 7 July 2015.
We acquired eight Big Boxes during the period, three of which were forward funded pre-let investments, expanding the portfolio to 22 assets. The acquisitions further diversified the portfolio both by geography and by tenant.
The weighted average unexpired lease term across the portfolio is 15.77 years, which compares well to our target of at least 12 years.
The average net initial yield of the portfolio at acquisition is 5.8% against our period end valuation of 5.1% net initial yield.
The total expense ratio for the period was 0.50%, down from 0.71% for the period from 1 January 2014 to 30 June 2014, which compares favourably with our real estate peers.
Our portfolio was fully let or pre-let and income producing during the period.
The Company's shares were included in the FTSE EPRA/ NAREIT Global Developed Index from 23 March 2015 and the FTSE 250 Index from 8 June 2015, helping to attract new investors and support liquidity in the shares.
Growth of the portfolio to provide a total of over 11 million sq ft of logistics space forming the portfolio.
Post Balance Sheet highlights
In July 2015 a new five year loan facility totalling £50.87 million was agreed with Landesbank Hessen- Thüringen Girozentrale ("Helaba") to finance the forward funded investment pre-let to Ocado in Erith.
Richard Jewson, Chairman of Tritax Big Box REIT plc, commented:
"Our investment manager continues to identify and negotiate good opportunities to buy assets and create capital value enhancement for our shareholders, both at the point of purchase and through a variety of asset management initiatives. We will continue to build an increasingly diversified and high quality portfolio, as we deploy the equity and debt financing raised during the period.
We see the potential for further yield compression in our sub-sector and logistics more generally, especially when viewed against current gilt yields. Big Boxes are becoming increasingly central to retail fulfilment, suggesting that yields have the potential to move towards the levels historically applied to prime retail assets.
The profile of rent reviews across the portfolio means we are well placed to capture rental growth in the market. We believe that the balance of occupational supply and demand should remain favourable for landlords, leading the Group to continue to be confident of strong rental growth in the near term.
The outlook for the remainder of 2015 remains strong and the Company anticipates achieving the dividend target of 6.0 pence per share for the full year."