Hibernia rent collection remains robust, as it confirms Harcourt Square letting to KPMG

Kevin Nowlan, CEO of Hibernia Reit

Ellie Donnelly

Hibernia Reit says over 98pc of commercial rent for the quarter ending September 2021 has been received or is on agreed monthly payment plans.

In addition, almost all of its residential rent for July has been received, according to a trading update covering April 1 to-date.

Colm Lauder, analyst at Goodbody, said: “this is above the average office sector rent collection rate for listed property companies in the UK and Ireland, which we estimate at 87pc.”

The company also confirmed it has agreed non-binding heads of terms with KPMG for a pre-let of the majority of its 337,000 sq. ft. office development at Harcourt Square on a long-term basis.

The letting has been agreed at an initial net effective rent slightly below €50 per sq. ft. per year. The development will add over €15m to the company’s rent roll once fully income producing.

Hibernia said office occupier activity has picked up as Covid restrictions have eased and since building inspections were allowed again from May.

However, it added that this is yet to be reflected in Dublin office take-up, with 0.2m sq. ft. leased in the second quarter of this year.

Overall take-up in the first half of 2021 was 0.2m sq. ft. compared to 0.9m sq. ft. in the first half of last year.

The vacancy rate for Grade A office space in Dublin's city centre rose from 9.8pc to 10.9pc in the quarter ended June and the overall Dublin office vacancy rate increased from 9.9pc to 10.6pc.

The majority of the increase was due to the completion of new office developments, according to the company.

Prime Grade A office headline rents in the city centre remained unchanged at €57.50 per sq. ft. in the quarter, according to data from Knight Frank, contained in Hibernia’s statement.

Kevin Nowlan, CEO of Hibernia, said: "It has been encouraging to see investor and occupier activity picking up, though this is yet to be reflected in take-up figures.”

“Visibility on the pace and shape of the economic recovery remains low but we are well-positioned with a clear strategy, low leverage and a high-quality tenant base."

At June 30 Hibernia had net debt of €273m and cash and undrawn facilities of €122m.

Factoring in the proceeds of €125m received this month from the issue of 10- and 12-year US private placement notes, committed expenditure and payment of the final dividend of 3.4c per share, proforma cash and undrawn facilities at June 30 totalled €216m.

The company’s 2 Cumberland Place development has been completed, adding 58,000 sq. ft. of new offices to the in-place portfolio.

Since the end of March the company has invested €2.7m in bolt-on acquisitions of properties. No disposals were made in the period.

Hibernia will hold its AGM today.

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