Property firm NewRiver REIT has told investors that it was “pleased” with the festive trading performance of several of its major tenants, adding that it is “well-positioned” to grow amid challenging market conditions.
NewRiver, which is structured as a real estate investment trust (REIT), also noted that its disposal programme continued “apace”, with £70.3 million of disposals now completed, exchanged or under offer in the financial year to date.
Its Hawthorn Leisure pubs business delivered growth through the acquisition of Bravo Inns and from strong like-for-like underlying earnings-per-pub growth.
NewRiver was co-founded by its executive deputy chairman David Lockhart, who founded Glasgow-based Halladale in 1991 – a firm subsequently bought by Stockland Corporation in 2007.
London-headquartered NewRiver has a £1.3 billion portfolio covering some nine million square feet and comprising the likes of community shopping centres, retail warehouses, high street assets and pubs.
In a third-quarter trading update, chief executive Allan Lockhart said: “In the third quarter, we saw continued stability in our operational metrics with an increase in retail occupancy to 96.1 per cent, footfall outperforming the UK benchmark and a healthy demand for our retail space.
“We were pleased with the robust Christmas trading performance of a number of our top 15 tenants, including Sainsbury’s, B&M, Primark, Next and Iceland.
“With a clear strategy and a portfolio focused around occupiers providing convenience, value and services, we feel well-positioned to navigate our way through these challenging market conditions.”
The third-quarter ordinary dividend was held at 5.4p per share, with the dividend for the year to date held at 16.2p.
Analysts at Shore Capital described the stock as a “distinctive real estate play displaying resilience”. They noted: “New River to us is forward thinking and very well positioned to be positively relevant to the evolving British retail and leisure scene. As such, we are encouraged by the group’s strategy and prospects.”
Liberum analysts noted: "NewRiver's Q3 update confirms a resilient operating performance in a tough market overall, which should provide reassurance."