Strong results, financial position and momentum, with a high quality pipeline of growth opportunities.
Adjusted EPS up 7.1 per cent to 19.7 pence (2015: 18.4 pence) was underpinned by a 4.0 per cent increase in like-for-like net rental income, a continued low vacancy rate at 5.7 per cent and a strong contribution from development completions. IFRS EPS of 53.9 pence (2015: 91.7 pence), which includes the impact of unrealised capital gains on the portfolio, reflects continued capital growth but at a slower rate.
EPRA NAV per share up 8.0 per cent to 500 pence, driven by a 4.8 per cent like-for-like increase in the value of the portfolio, reflecting development gains, UK rental growth and asset management activities.
Occupier and investor demand for modern warehousing remains resilient. Occupier demand remains strong from a broad range of business sectors, particularly from retailers adapting their supply chains to the rapid growth of internet retailing. The result of the EU referendum has had little apparent impact on occupier and investor demand for well located, modern urban and big box warehouses.
Future earnings prospects underpinned by the largely de-risked development programme. Developments under construction have the potential to generate £27 million of new rent, of which 61 per cent has been pre-let. A further £27 million is available from conditional pre-let and potential speculative projects which are expected to start in the coming months.
Final dividend increased by 5.7 per cent to 11.2 pence (2015 final dividend: 10.6 pence).
Commenting on the results, David Sleath, Chief Executive, said:
"I am pleased to report another strong set of results. We have had a record year for development completions, delivering 422,000 sq m of new warehouse space, of which 80 per cent is now let. We have a high quality pipeline of developments under construction and more under discussion, reflecting the continuing strength of occupier demand for, and short supply of, well located, modern urban and big box warehouses.
"Our business is well positioned, notwithstanding the current degree of political and economic uncertainty. We have had an active start to 2017 and we continue to see opportunities to grow our business through further disciplined investment, matched by a prudent approach to financing."