07 Nov 2012

Sustainable Growth Furthering Community Engagement

Highlights for the six months ended 30 September 2012:
Growth Momentum Continues
- Total revenue: HK$3,197 million  ↑ 10.7%
- Net property income: HK$2,256 million  ↑ 10.5%
- Interim distribution per unit (“DPU”) – 100% payout: HK71.08 cents
  ↑ 12.6%
Steady Operating Performance
- Average monthly unit rent per square foot (1): HK$37.2  ↑ 3.9%
- Occupancy rate: ↑ to 93.2%
- Reversion rate (on average 3-year lease): 25.9%
- Retention rate: 80.3%
- Tenants’ gross sales: ↑ 11.6%
- Net property income margin: 70.6%
- Electricity consumption savings: 9.7 million kWh

Solid Financial Position
- Net asset value per unit (1): HK$30.82  ↑ 11.1%
- Gearing ratio: ↓to 14.9%
- Strong credit ratings: A (S&P) / A2 (Moody’s)
- Available liquidity: HK$5.78 billion
Note: (1) These comparisons are based on 31 March 2012 figures while others are based on period ended 30 September 2011 figures
The board of directors (“the Board”) of The Link Management Limited (“The Link Management”), as the manager of The Link Real Estate Investment Trust (“The Link REIT”; Hong Kong stock code: 823) today announced the unaudited consolidated interim results of The Link REIT for the six months ended 30 September 2012. Total revenue grew by 10.7% to HK$3,197 million and net property income (“NPI”) rose 10.5% year-on-year to HK$2,256 million.  The Board approved an interim distribution of HK71.08 cents per unit, an increase of 12.6% over same period last year.
Mr Nicholas Sallnow-Smith, Chairman of the Board of The Link Management, said, “The Link REIT achieved a satisfactory performance for the six months ended 30 September 2012. The steady performance of the majority of our tenants reflects the resilience of our portfolio amid market uncertainties. Apart from diversifying our trade mix with new retailers, and providing more choices to the community, we have been emphasising the importance of community engagement and sustainable development. With the endorsement of our Unitholders, we engage the community further by establishing a Charity and Community Engagement Programme, which will offer us new ways to serve the community through donations and sponsorships.”
“In September 2012, The Link REIT became the first Hong Kong real estate investment trust to participate in the United Nations Global Compact, reinforcing our commitment to promote human rights, fair labour practices, the environment and anti-corruption. The Link REIT was also the first Asian real estate investment trust to be a signatory of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, which encourages responsible property investment and management practices. We also endorsed the Manifesto for Energy Efficiency in Buildings of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a CEO-led organisation for sustainable development,” he added. (For more information about these international sustainability-related initiatives, please see the attached backgrounder)

Mr George Hongchoy, Chief Executive Officer of The Link Management, said, “The six-month period under review saw interim DPU grow 12.6% year-on-year to HK71.08 cents, the highest interim distribution ever since our IPO. The strong operating performance is underpinned by our continuous efforts to expand business opportunities in our portfolio through various enhancement initiatives, and our solid financial position.”
“Aside from offering choices better suited to community needs, our asset enhancement initiatives (“AEIs”) create more thriving business environment for our tenants while bringing more job opportunities to the community. The portfolio has demonstrated sustainable NPI growth over the years, while selected properties with completed AEIs have shown marked increase in customer satisfaction levels and stronger occupancy rates in the portfolio.”
During the period under review, enhancement works at Sun Chui Shopping Centre (“SC”) were fully completed. The grand opening of Leung King Plaza will be held this coming Sunday, and the enhancement works at Wah Sum SC are scheduled to be completed by end of the year. The works for Sun Chui SC and Wah Sum SC, both being centres outside the list of top 50 properties, are part of our efforts to extend our asset enhancement programme to a wider group of properties within our portfolio to provide better service to the community. Works have commenced for four additional properties, namely Choi Wan Commercial Complex, Sha Kok Commercial Centre, Yau Oi Commercial Centre and On Ting Commercial Complex. The latter two projects will be repositioned as The Link REIT's new flagship shopping centres in the Tuen Mun District.
“Our initiatives to enhance the tenant base diversity across our portfolio, and roll out attractive promotion campaigns to encourage consumer spending, and build shopper loyalty, have yielded promising results. Average monthly retail gross sales per square foot increased by 11.6% during the six-month period as compared to the corresponding period last year,” said Mr Hongchoy. 
“Despite the persistently high energy costs, rising labour and building material costs, we have decided to continue to freeze the management fee of the portfolio this financial year for the fifth year in a row. We remain committed to maintaining sustainable development as an integral component of our corporate strategy.”
The interim results presentation file can be downloaded at this address:
UNEP FI – United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative
UNEP FI is a global partnership between UNEP and the financial sector to understand the impact of environmental and social considerations on financial performance.  The Link REIT is part of the UNEP FI’s Property Working Group which focuses on encouraging property investment and management practices that achieve the best possible environmental, social and financial results.
UN Global Compact
The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.  The Link is a signatory of the Compact, and pledges to follow the ten principles.

WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development)
The WBCSD is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment.  The Link has endorsed the WBCSD’s Energy Efficiency in Buildings Manifesto, pledging to achieve emissions reductions in buildings.
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