Belgian REIT Cofinimmo, the nation's largest listed property company, raised net result by 3.6% to €139.1m in 2017 though the result per share climbed more strongly to €6.53 from €4.64. It also said that it appointed Jean-Pierre Hanin as new managing director.
Net rental income last year was little changed at €203.8m last year, and Cofinimmo said in a release that these results confirm the gross dividend of €5.50 per ordinary share for the 2017 fiscal year. Its portfolio rose slightly in value last year to €3.6bn.
Cofinimmo said it continued to implement its strategy last year, with investments in healthcare real estate for €88.4m, mainly in the Netherlands and Germany. In the latter market, the group acquired three nursing homes and signed an agreement to acquire a fourth under construction. In the Netherlands, investments included five medical consultation centres and a care centre for the disabled. On the domestic market, it signed an agreement for major renovations and extensions of a nursing home and proceeded with conversion of an office building into a retirement home.
In 2017, Cofinimmo lifted the one-year extension option for a syndicated loan and renewed and renegotiated various lines of credit, bringing its overall average maturity of global debt to 4.7 years at year end and the average cost of debt to 1.9%. Some 41% of 2016 dividends were paid in subscription for new shares laste year, generating €33.2m in equity. As a result, the group's debt ratio stood at 43.8% as of December.
Looking ahead, the said: "Unless unforeseen events occur, the forecast of the net result of the key activities group share for the 2018 financial year should amount to €6.54 share and the gross dividend, payable in 2019 is forecast at €5.50 per ordinary share."
Hanin, who succeeds Jean-Edouard Carbonelle with immediate effect, is a trained lawyer with a master's qualification from Belgium's Solvay Business School and Georgetown University. He was most recently CFO and then manager of the building performance division of construction group Etex.
Founded in 1983, Cofinimmo was originally an investor in office real estate but it moved into healthcare in 2005, riding on demographic trends. At the end of 2007 it acquired a portfolio of pubs in Belgium and the Netherlands owned by Immobrew, a unit of AB InBev. In 2011 the group acquired a portfolio of insurance services agencies in France rented to the MAAF, a subsidiary of insurer Covéa. By 2014, the firm had become one of the major investors in healthcare properties in continental Europe with a presence in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands - so that, today, healthcare properties represent almost 50 % of Cofinimmo's total portfolio by value.