Hibernia REIT targets 50% rent rise

Publicly quoted property investment fund Hibernia REIT is targeting a 50% increase in total rent roll over the next two years, which would lift its rental income from nearly €40m to €60m.

As part of a strong set of annual results, the company said yesterday that new lettings and rent reviews added nearly €12m to rent income last year; up by over 70% on the previous 12 months.

Hibernia said that it has substantial headroom, of €260m, to invest on acquisitions and investments (it spent €179m on nine acquisitions last year), but much of its outlay will go on developing recently acquired office blocks rather than a raft of new purchases.

It also announced that Twitter is expanding its space in Hibernia’s Cumberland House block in Dublin by 16.5 sq ft to 101.5 sq ft, which will boost its rent from that client by €700,000 per year to over €5m.

Yesterday’s results showed a 47% rise in pre-tax profits, for the 12 months to the end of March, to €136.3m, and a jump in portfolio value, from €641.3m to nearly €928m.

Net asset value per share rose by 17% to 130.8c and the company has proposed an 87.5% jump in total shareholder dividend for the year to 1.5c per share.

Hibernia chief executive Kevin Nowlan said its committed projects will deliver 354,000 sq ft of high-quality new office space in Dublin’s city centre in the next two years.

“The strength of the domestic economy, together with low vacancy rates in Dublin gives us confidence — given a benign global economic backdrop — in the prospects for further rental growth,” said Mr Nowlan.

“Our portfolio is rich in opportunity and we have substantial undrawn facilities to move quickly on further acquisition opportunities, underpinning our confidence for the future.”

He said Hibernia will remain focused on the Dublin city centre market and not deviate into the south city suburbs.

Rival Kennedy Wilson recently said the suburbs should see strong rental growth in the coming years.

Mr Nowlan also said that Hibernia is hopeful of establishing vacant possession of its Harcourt Square premises — which currently acts as the Dublin headquarters of An Garda Síochána — following objections from nearby residents by the end of June, ahead of commencing a full redevelopment of the site.


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