The Segro Board has previously guided that the interim dividend will be set at one-third of the previous year's total dividend. As a result, and consistent with this guidance, the Board has declared an increase in the interim dividend of 0.6 pence per share to 6.9 pence (H1 2019: 6.3 pence), a rise of 9.5 per cent. The Board currently expects to follow its existing policy of targeting a pay-out ratio of 85 to 95 per cent of Adjusted profit after tax when considering the full year 2020 dividend.
This interim dividend of 6.9 pence will be paid as an ordinary dividend on 24 September 2020 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 14 August 2020.
The Board will offer a scrip dividend option for the 2020 interim dividend, allowing shareholders to choose whether to receive the dividend in cash or new shares. 39 per cent of the 2019 final dividend was paid in new shares, equating to £55 million of cash retained on the balance sheet and 7.6 million new shares being issued.
Other financial highlights include:
Adjusted pre-tax profit of £140.4 million up 6.5 per cent compared with the prior year (H1 2019: £131.8 million). Adjusted EPS is 12.5 pence (H1 2019: 12.2 pence) and Adjusted NAV per share up 2.6 per cent to 718 pence (31 December 2019: 700 pence), in part due to a 0.7 per cent (H1 2019: 3.5 per cent) increase in the valuation of the portfolio.
Good lettings and asset management performance supported by continued high levels of occupier demand. £33.7 million of new headline rent captured in the period, including £18.8 million of new pre-let agreements, tracking in line with 2019 levels.
Continuing to invest for growth with net capital expenditure of £631 million in the period through asset acquisitions, development projects and land purchases. Future earnings prospects underpinned by 1.3 million sq m of development projects under construction or in advanced pre-let discussions, equating to an additional £78 million of potential rent, 86 per cent of which relates to pre-lets.
Over £1 billion of new equity and debt financing, helping to strengthen the balance sheet for further, development-led growth. LTV of 22 per cent at 30 June 2020.
The £10 million SEGRO Centenary Fund, launched in April, has already awarded £771,000 to projects across the UK and Continental Europe with £465,000 of additional support to help alleviate pressures caused by the pandemic.