LondonMetric has continued to declare quarterly dividends and has offered shareholders a scrip alternative to cash payments.
In the year to 31 March 2021, the Company paid the third and fourth quarterly dividends for 2020 and the first two quarterly dividends for 2021 at a total cost of £75.6 million or 8.5p per share as reflected in note 7 to the financial statements.
The Company issued 1.5 million ordinary shares under the terms of the Scrip Dividend Scheme, which reduced the cash dividend payment by £3.2 million to £72.4 million. The first two quarterly payments for the current year of 2.1p per share were paid as Property Income Distributions ('PIDs') in the year. The third quarterly dividend was paid as a PID in April 2021 and the Company has approved a fourth quarterly payment of 2.35p in July 2021, of which 2.25p will be a PID. The total dividend payable for 2021 of 8.65p represents a 0.35p or 4.2% increase over the previous year.
The Board took the following into account when considering its dividend payments:
Its REIT obligations to distribute 90% of property rental business profits;
Its desire to pay a sustainable, covered and progressive return to shareholders;
Its EPRA earnings for 2021; and
The outlook for 2022.
At the year end the Company had distributable reserves of £1,006.7 million, providing substantial cover for the dividend payable for the year. When required and at least six monthly, the Company receives dividends from its subsidiaries which increase distributable reserves.
Other financial highlights include:
- Net rental income up 6% to £123.3m, on an IFRS basis increased by 8%
- Rent collection strong with less than 1% forgiven or outstanding for the year
- EPRA earnings up 15% to £85.6m, +3% on a per share basis
- IFRS reported profit up 400% to £257.3m, after adjusting prior year for exceptional costs