Healthcare property investor Assura is continuing its portfolio expansion plans with a proposed £190m equity placing.
The proceeds will fund the company’s short term property pipeline which includes £72m for on-site developments and £102m in acquisition opportunities.
This follows the company reporting a 58 per cent increase in profit before tax in its interim results for the six months up to September, increasing by £26.1m since March.
During this time, Assura’s portfolio has risen six per cent to nearly £2.6 billion.
It has expanded to 625 buildings after 27 acquisitions at a cost of £117m.
Total contracted rental income also increased to £1.61 billion, up from £1.57 billion in March 2021.
The loan-to-value has increased to 39 per cent from 37 per cent in March, but has maintained a liquid position with cash totalling £241.6m.
It has now declared quarterly dividends at 0.74p while earnings per share rose to 1.5p compared to 1.4p a year ago.
The company receives 85 per cent of its funding by the NHS, and has a market share of 10 per cent.
CEO Jonathan Murphy told City A.M. that the company’s wilting stock performance on the FTSE 250 was a response to the equity raise, having raised funds at a discount to the market.
Assura’s shares are down 5.34 per cent on the FTSE 250, trading at 69.15 at 1301 GMT.
“If we hadn’t done the equity raise, I would have expected the opposite reaction as it is a really strong set of results,” he said.
Murphy also warned the government about “real pressures” facing the NHS this winter such as shortages in supplies and conditions, alongside long-standing issues with the quality of facilities.
He argued the government needed to “refocus on primary care” rather than pull back and maintain its policy commitments such as increasing the number of doctors working in the health services.
Murphy said: The way to deal with this is to continue to invest in primary care to recruit hire, and train more doctors – which is government policy. It is to continue to invest in improved facilities to drive more care into the community, to focus on preventative measures, and broader elements such as social prescribing. Again, all entirely consistent with policy.”