BMO Commercial Property Trust has been successful in its pivot towards logistics real estate after demand for offices faltered as a result of the pandemic.
The British fund kicked off the year on “a much brighter note” with fewer Covid-19 restrictions, having sold off nearly £200m worth of property in the year to 31 December, which saw the size of its office portfolio fall 10 per cent.
The London-listed investment vehicle doubled down on industrial and logistics sectors over the 12-month period, with the industries now making up a third of the fund’s portfolio – compared to 19 per cent at the beginning of the year.
The Trust dished out £66m on two logistics property acquisitions in the period, as it nearly doubled its portfolio in the Midlands.
After the area was left a ghost town under pandemic restrictions, BMO’s property portfolio in London’s West End shrank 10 per cent in the period between 2020 and 2021.
Chairman Martin Moore, who was previously chairman of the property asset management arm of Prudential, said in a statement: “There was more activity in the capital markets, providing support to our strategic ambitions of repositioning our portfolio weightings.
“During 2021 we continued to progress the active asset management of the portfolio with some notable successes during the year especially in the industrial and logistics sector where we completed the renewal of the company’s two largest lease expiries for the year.”
The Trust has also introduced a dividend at 0.4p per share – a 6.7 per cent increase on the previous monthly property income distribution.
Despite entering the year with a “more modest” economic hit, buoyed by the rapid Covid-19 vaccine rollout, “very sadly we now face the added economic and geopolitical uncertainties arising from the war in Ukraine and the humanitarian disaster that is unfolding,” added Moore.