Ascendas India Trust NPI rose 5% YoY to S$77.3m in H1

Total property income decreased by 4% but was offset by the decline in expenses. 

Ascendas India Trust (a-iTrust) reported a 5% increase year-on-year (YoY) in net property income to S$77.3m in the first half of 2021 from S$73.5m in the same period last year.

a-iTrust’s property income decreased 4% to S$95.4m YoY from S$99m, according to Ascendas Property Fund Trustee Pte. Ltd, the trustee-manager of a-iTrust.

In Indian Rupee terms, the total property income rose 1% to ₹5.2b mainly due to income from Endeavour building and aVance 6. However, this was partially offset by lower occupancy and lower utility income and carpark income because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Property expenses, on the other hand, decreased 26% to ₹1b (S$18.1m) due to lower operation, maintenance, and utility expenses, and reversal of expected credit loss.

"These factors resulted in net property income increased by 10% to ₹4.3b (S$77.3m)," it said.

Meanwhile, income to be distributed dipped 9% YoY in the first half, bringing to distribution per unit to 4.20S₵ from 4.64 S₵, “mainly on account of a one-off reversal of dividend distribution tax provision made in the last financial year.”

Sanjeed Dasgupta, CEO of a-iTrust, said the second wave of COVID-19 infections presented a challenge and opportunity for the company to strengthen their ties with companies within their business parks, providing them support to “maintain a safe environment” to keep them operational during the period.

“We are also working closely with local government authorities to provide healthcare support. This included setting up of a temporary COVID Care Centre at International Tech Park Bangalore and initiating vaccination drives at our business parks,” he said. 

The leasing environment “remains a challenge” for them, with the committed portfolio occupancy at 90% on 30 June, decreasing from 94% as of 30 December 2020.

“Despite the subdued leasing environment, we have leased/renewed 1.8 million sq. ft. in the first half of 2021. Our office rental collections remain healthy at 97%,” he said.

“We have added new economy asset classes such as data centres and industrial into our committed growth pipeline to improve portfolio resilience. We will continue to seize accretive investment opportunities to strengthen portfolio diversification to deliver long-term sustainable returns to our Unitholders.”

A-iTrust “remains in a strong financial position to fulfil all its financial and operational obligations.” The firm has a gearing ratio of 33%, a total debt headroom of S$980m and cash of S$178m.

Of its total borrowings, 77% were effectively on a fixed-interest rate basis and 65% “were hedged into Indian Rupees.”

The trust plans to expand its current 14.4 million square feet of completed portfolio area to 25.2 million sq. ft. of properties composed of business and logistics parks, industrial facility and data centre in the next few years. It also said that construction activities for its projects improved in June with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

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