Property developer Charter Hall Retail (REIT) kicked off the financial year 2013 with an acquisition of Australian shopping centres worth $101 million.

As a result the company has been able to report a statutory profit of $15.8 million for the first half year.

Scott Dundas, the REIT’s fund manager, said the company has been very pleased with the results.

“We have had a very active start to financial year 2013 (FY13), acquiring $101 million of Australian shopping centres, with construction underway on $97 million of redevelopment projects across our $133 million pipeline and finalising 165 leasing transactions to maintain Australian portfolio occupancy of 98.5 per cent. As a result we are very pleased to deliver a solid first half result for our unitholders,” he said.

The REIT’s Australian portfolio has performed strongly, delivering occupancy of 98.5 per cent, same property net operating income (NOI) growth of 3.0% for the 12 months ended 31 December 2012 and specialty rental rate growth of 3.7 per cent following 113 new lease and 52 renewal transactions.
Woolworths and Wesfarmers continue to represent 53% per cent of Australian annual base rent, with the REIT’s predominately non-discretionary specialty tenant mix complementing these supermarket anchors.

Going forward, the company said it will remain focused on maintaining and enhancing the REIT’s Australian portfolio through a continued focus on non-discretionary retail spending, acquiring retail properties valued at between $20-$100 million and enhancing property returns.

The non-discretionary sector of the retail market continues to perform in line with our expectations and, with the current Australian cash rate at an historic low, this reinforces the appeal of the distribution yield offered by the REIT of 6.9 per cent.