Hibernia Reit eyes offices growth

Property firm Hibernia Reit said it has the resources to spend on growing its office holdings and may seek to expand its buy-to-let residential holdings.

It comes as analysts hailed the firm’s annual results in which it revealed that its 28 properties in Dublin were worth almost €1.17bn. The shares rose 2.5%.

The company, whose tenants include government agencies, Twitter, Bank of Ireland, and Bank of New York Mellon, is completing a number of development projects in Dublin.

Chief executive Kevin Nowlan said Hibernia had achieved its targets and its strengths in developing projects were paying off. Development projects, including those at Windmill Lane, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, and its Hanover Building — are due to be completed in the few years.

Total rental income could increase by the end of 2019 to over €70m from almost €40m, he said. Mr Nolan said the Reit, because of its value of over €1bn, still had the opportunity to execute major projects.

The firm was staying focused on office properties but may look to expand its buy-to-let apartments or grow industrial projects. Hibernia, which owns over 300 housing units mostly in the Dundrum area, however, said that planning requirements for apartments need to be changed.

After a number of years of strong gains, the firm said that office property rents were moderating in a market that could, in time, benefit from firms moving to Dublin from London because of Brexit.

“The model of refurbishing and repositioning older, down-at-heel central Dublin offices and building best in class new space has started to deliver,” said Goodbody.

“This is despite a moderation in the market as property prices stabilise.”

Investec said the discount of its shares to its net asset value was “unwarranted given the supportive dynamics of the Dublin property market”.

Hibernia Reit said it paid fees in 2017 of €5.9m for performance-related payments to the vendors of investment manager WK Nowlan ReitManagement, acquired in late 2015. Some €5m was paid to the vendors and the balance paid as an incentive to non-connected staff.

Including a management fee related to the buy-out of Windmill Lane, total performance-related payments to the vendors and employees in the year came to over €9.3m.

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