Hansteen (AIM: HSTN), the investor in continental European real estate, announces that it is continuing to see resilience in its principal markets of the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France.
The company also announces the sale of their industrial unit, Rondweg 17 at Wezep in the Netherlands, which has been sold for 1.875 million. The property, which is currently only partially occupied, is being sold above the most recent valuation and the original purchase cost. The purchaser company Companjen Constructies BV, is expected to occupy the vacant element.
In addition, the Company announces that during the period from December 31, 2008 to May 15, 2009, it has increased net occupancy, with a reduction in vacant space from 134,000 m² to 117,000 m², a move from 13% vacancy to under 12% vacancy, over the period. This reduction, together with the acquisition of the properties at Gross-Rohrheim and Friedberg in Germany and the profitable disposal of the property at Freising, also in Germany, announced with the Final Results in April, has increased the annualized rent roll from 42 million to 44 million, resulting in a yield improvement from 8.4% to 8.6%.
Furthermore, Hansteen's annualised interest cost of borrowing has been reduced to approximately 3.5% from 4.7% at 31 December 2008, further increasing the gap between yield and cost of borrowing. Cash collection remains strong and the Company has seen no material increase in rent arrears.
Recent lettings include:
At Naninne industrial zone in Belgium, Lecot NV, a distributor of building equipments, has taken a new 3/6/9 year lease on 1,175 m² , at 47,000 per annum.
At Willich in Germany, two new lettings to Fujicolor and HT Torhala have added 76,000 to the annual rent roll.
At Remseck in Germany, existing tenant Supreme Food Service GmbH has extended its existing lease until 2012 and taken the remaining vacant space in the building adding approximately 40,000 to the rent roll.
Ian Watson, Joint Chief Executive commented: 'While we are not unaffected by the credit crunch and economic downturn, we are pleased with the relative resilience of our continental European portfolio, coupled with the significant reduction in our cost of borrowing.
"We will continue to focus on maintaining and, where possible, increasing occupancy and income, both through a continued focus on continental Europe, and a return to the UK where more and more opportunities are presenting themselves."
Hansteen also announces that it has appointed Mark Ovens and James Havery, who previously worked with Hansteen's chief executives Morgan Jones and Ian Watson in their Ashtenne Holdings days, in order to strengthen its team.
Mark Ovens is a qualified accountant who started his property career as an analyst with Arlington Securities in 1987. He held various positions within the Arlington group of companies with a particular focus on asset and liability management until August 1995. Mark joined Ashtenne in 1995, assisting with the formation of the Ashtenne Industrial Fund in 2001, and became Managing Director of the Ashtenne Industrial Fund in June 2004. Following the sale of Ashtenne in June 2005, Mark joined the executive board of Warner Estate and remained as the Director responsible for the Ashtenne Industrial Fund and its regional offices.
James Havery is a chartered surveyor who started his career at DTZ Debenham Thorpe in 1995. After qualifying in the valuation department he spent five years carrying out investment work on behalf of institutional, property company and private investor clients. He joined Ashtenne in 2002 where he focused on asset management and sales across the Ashtenne Industrial Fund and its wholly owned portfolio. Following the sale of Ashtenne to Warner Estate in June 2005, James continued working on the Ashtenne Industrial Fund as the senior Regional Director leading teams of asset and property managers responsible for property across the UK.
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