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Commenting on the results, David Sleath, Chief Executive, said:

“SEGRO’s strong and resilient business has continued to grow in the first half of 2020 despite the unprecedented disruption caused by Covid-19, in no small part thanks to the dedication and commitment of our people. Our focus on our customers, suppliers and local communities has allowed us to offer targeted support where needed.

“The impacts of the pandemic are accelerating the adoption of technology, particularly e-commerce, across society and have resulted in a renewed focus by many occupiers on the critical importance of efficient, resilient logistics supply chains. These factors play to the quality of our portfolio and should continue to support and enhance occupier and investor demand for our prime warehouses, both in the UK and, increasingly, on the Continent.

“Our existing portfolio has performed well and our development programme has expanded, with a pipeline of additional near-term pre-let projects which is approximately twice the size of a year ago. This, combined with our well-located land bank, means we are in a strong position to make further progress in the second half of the year and beyond.”

Highlights:

  • Adjusted pre-tax profit of £140.4 million up 6.5 per cent compared with the prior year (H1 2019: £131.8 million). Adjusted EPS is 12.5 pence (H1 2019: 12.2 pence) and Adjusted NAV per share up 2.6 per cent to 718 pence (31 December 2019: 700 pence), in part due to a 0.7 per cent (H1 2019: 3.5 per cent) increase in the valuation of the portfolio.
  • Good lettings and asset management performance supported by continued high levels of occupier demand. £33.7 million of new headline rent captured in the period, including £18.8 million of new pre-let agreements, tracking in line with 2019 levels.
  • Continuing to invest for growth with net capital expenditure of £631 million in the period through asset acquisitions, development projects and land purchases. Future earnings prospects underpinned by 1.3 million sq m of development projects under construction or in advanced pre-let discussions, equating to an additional £78 million of potential rent, 86 per cent of which relates to pre-lets.
  • Over £1 billion of new equity and debt financing, helping to strengthen the balance sheet for further, development-led growth. LTV of 22 per cent at 30 June 2020.
  • The £10 million SEGRO Centenary Fund, launched in April, has already awarded £771,000 to projects across the UK and Continental Europe with £465,000 of additional support to help alleviate pressures caused by the pandemic.
  • Interim dividend increased by 9.5 per cent to 6.9 pence (2019 interim dividend: 6.3 pence), in line with our usual practice of setting the interim dividend at one-third of the previous full year dividend

FINANCIAL SUMMARY

Income statement metrics 6 months to
30 June 2020
6 months to
30 June 2019
Change
per cent
Adjusted1 profit before tax (£m) 140.4 131.8 6.5
IFRS profit before tax (£m) 220.9 410.8 (46.2)
Adjusted2 earnings per share (pence) 12.5 12.2 2.5
IFRS earnings per share (pence) 19.5 37.1 (47.4)
Dividend per share (pence)  6.9 6.3 9.5
Balance sheet metrics 30 June
2020
31 Dec 2019 Change
per cent
Portfolio valuation (SEGRO share, £m) 11,246 10,251  0.73
Adjusted net asset value per share 4 5 (pence, diluted)  718  700 2.6
IFRS net asset value per share (pence, diluted) 716 697 2.7
Net debt (SEGRO share, £m)  2,511  2,484 -
Loan to value ratio including joint ventures at share (per cent) 22 24 -

FINANCIAL AND OPERATING HIGHLIGHTSA 

Strong occupier demand continues to support operational performance

  • Secured £33.7 million of new headline rent in the period (H1 2019: £33.3 million). This was driven by new pre-lets of £18.8 million (H1 2019: £15.2 million), net rent roll growth of £2.3 million on existing space (H1 2019: £8.4 million) and lettings of recently completed speculatively developed space.
  • Potential rent of £22 million from development completions, 64 per cent of which have been leased as at 30 June 2020. All developments designed to achieve high standards of sustainability (BREEAM Very Good or better, or equivalent local standard).
  • Rents agreed in reviews and renewals were on average 10.4 per cent higher than previous passing rents. Like-for-like net rental income growth was 2.0 per cent (UK: 2.9 per cent; Continental Europe: 0.5 per cent) excluding provisions for potential bad debts of £3.0 million against rent billed but not yet paid.
  • Vacancy rate remains low at 5.2 per cent (31 December 2019: 4.0 per cent), a slight and anticipated increase since year end due mainly to a number of recently completed speculatively developed schemes.
  • Customer retention remains high at 88 per cent, reflecting both the quality of our product and customer service.

Valuation gains across the portfolio despite the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic

  • Portfolio capital valuation surplus of 0.7 per cent (UK: 0.1 per cent; Continental Europe: 1.8 per cent). Valuation gains primarily driven by asset management, development gains and some rental value growth (UK: 1.0 per cent; Continental Europe: 0.4 per cent) with yields generally flat.

Acceleration of the mostly pre-let development pipeline, together with tactical acquisitions, resulting in higher net capital investment

  • Net capital investment of £631 million, comprising £223 million of asset acquisitions, £467 million of new land and development capital expenditure, offset by £59 million of proceeds from disposals.
  • £303 million of further capex to be invested in completing development projects under construction, representing £45 million of potential rent, of which 85 per cent has been secured. Expected completions in the second half of 2020 will generate £25 million of potential rent, of which £22 million has been secured.
  • ‘Near-term’ pre-let projects are expected to commence in the coming months, with potential capex of £311 million and £33 million of associated rent. Our landbank is capable of supporting another 2.3 million sq m of space, equating to a further estimated £129 million of future additional rent.
  • Total spend on development capex and infrastructure for the year is expected to be in excess of £800 million, comprising land acquisitions and infrastructure of more than £300 million and development capex of more than £500 million.

Balance sheet positioned for further development-led growth, following equity placing and debt refinancing.

  • Equity placing of £680 million completed in June 2020, providing capacity to continue to invest in the accretive development pipeline and future land acquisitions.
    €450 million of US Private Placement notes with a blended coupon of 1.6 per cent and average maturity of 17 years agreed in July, to be drawn down in the fourth quarter.
    LTV ratio of 22 per cent (31 December 2019: 24 per cent) and £1.5 billion of cash and undrawn facilities.

1. A reconciliation between Adjusted profit before tax and IFRS profit before tax is shown in Note 2 to the condensed financial information.
2.
 A reconciliation between Adjusted earnings per share and IFRS earnings per share is shown in Note 11 to the condensed financial information.
3. 
Percentage valuation movement during the period based on the difference between opening and closing valuations for all properties including buildings under construction and land, adjusting for capital expenditure, acquisitions and disposals.
4. 
A reconciliation between Adjusted net asset value per share and IFRS net asset value per share is shown in Note 11 to the condensed financial information.
5.
 Adjusted net asset value is in line with EPRA Net Tangible Assets (NTA) which was introduced for accounting periods starting from 1 January 2020 (see Table 4 in the Supplementary Notes for a NAV reconciliation). The 31 December 2019 adjusted net asset value has been restated to align with the definition of EPRA NTA. Calculations for EPRA performance measures are shown in the Supplementary Notes to the condensed financial information.
A. 
Figures quoted on pages 1 to 15 refer to SEGRO’s share, except for land (hectares) and space (square metres) which are quoted at 100 per cent, unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the Presentation of Financial Information statement in the Financial Review for further details.

OUTLOOK

The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown measures enforced by governments across Europe have had wide-ranging implications for our diverse customer base. Many have seen demand for their products and services rise sharply, whilst some others have suffered short-term cash flow challenges.

It remains to be seen how long these immediate effects will last but it is clear that the structural trends that have been contributing to occupier demand for our space over recent years have strengthened as a result of the pandemic. This is already starting to show in elevated take-up levels: for example UK logistics take-up hit record highs in the first six months of the year, 44 per cent higher than in the same period last year according to data recently published by CBRE.

E-commerce penetration has accelerated markedly across all our markets, there is a renewed focus on the efficiency and resilience of supply chains, and the demand for data centre space is increasing as a result of the need for additional data storage to support remote working and video streaming services. These themes should drive both occupier and investor demand for high quality warehousing in core logistics and urban locations.

Our development programme has increased during the period with over 800,000 sq m of developments under construction, the majority of which have been pre-let, and a near-term pipeline of potential pre-lets that is roughly twice the size as at the same stage last year. This increase in pre-letting activity is in contrast to a reduction in speculative development starts across our markets which should be positive for the future supply situation.

Whilst we remain cognisant of the macro-economic risks resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and are alert to the possibility of further measures to combat the spread of the virus, we remain confident of the prospects for our business. We anticipate that our strong development pipeline and our active approach to asset management will continue to drive sustainable earnings and dividend growth in the years ahead.

View the full press release in PDF format.

Full details of our holdings can be found in the SEGRO Property Analysis Report.

Watch a video interview with David Sleath, Chief Executive and Soumen Das, Chief Financial Officer.

WEBCAST / CONFERENCE CALL FOR INVESTORS AND ANALYSTS

A live webcast of the results presentation will be available from 08.30 (UK time) at:

https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/6r6bccii

The webcast will be available for replay at SEGRO’s website at: http://www.segro.com/investors by the close of business.

A conference call facility will be available at 08:30 (UK time) on the following number:

Dial-in: +44 (0)207 1928 338
Access code : 4180559 - SEGRO Half Year Results

A video interview with David Sleath and Soumen Das discussing the results is now available to view on www.segro.com, together with this announcement, the H1 2020 Property Analysis Report and other information about SEGRO.

FINANCIAL CALENDAR

2020 interim dividend ex-div date 13 August 2020
2020 interim dividend record date 14 August 2020
2020 interim dividend scrip dividend price announced 20 August 2020
Last date for scrip dividend elections 3 September 2020
2020 interim dividend payment date 24 September 2020
2020 Third Quarter Trading Update 21 October 2020
Full Year 2020 Results 19 February 2021

ABOUT SEGRO

SEGRO is a UK Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), and a leading owner, manager and developer of modern warehouses and light industrial property. It owns or manages 8.1 million square metres of space (88 million square feet) valued at £13.3 billion serving customers from a wide range of industry sectors. Its properties are located in and around major cities and at key transportation hubs in the UK and in seven other European countries.

Forward-Looking Statements: This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to SEGRO’s expectations and plans, strategy, management objectives, future developments and performances, costs, revenues and other trend information. These statements are subject to assumptions, risk and uncertainty. Many of these assumptions, risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond SEGRO’s ability to control or estimate precisely and which could cause actual results or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Certain statements have been made with reference to forecast process changes, economic conditions and the current regulatory environment. Any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of SEGRO are based upon the knowledge and information available to Directors on the date of this announcement. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that any particular expectation will be met and SEGRO’s shareholders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements. Additionally, forward-looking statements regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as a representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. Other than in accordance with its legal or regulatory obligations (including under the Financial Conduct Authority's Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules), SEGRO does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to reflect any changes in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based. Past share performance cannot be relied on as a guide to future performance. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as a profit forecast. The information in this announcement does not constitute an offer to sell or an invitation to buy securities in SEGRO or an invitation or inducement to engage in any other investment activities.

Neither the content of SEGRO’s website nor any other website accessible by hyperlinks from SEGRO’s website are incorporated in, or form part of, this announcement.

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