Property firm Hibernia returns to growth as Dublin market recovers

By Sarah Collins

Property firm Hibernia real estate investment trust (REIT) has seen a return to growth and a boost in portfolio value as activity in Dublin picks up post-lockdown.

Announcing its results for the six months to September today, the firm said portfolio value has grown €23m or 0.4pc to €1.45bn since March.

Profit after tax was €21.2m, a return to growth after a loss of over €34m in the same period in 2020.

Net tangible assets per share, a better measure of value, were at 172.5 cents as of September 2021.

Net rental income was €31.4m, 2.1pc down on the same period in 2020 as rent collection rose to 99pc.

Net debt came in at €291.6m, 4.6pc up on its position in March this year.

Hibernia said it will be paying out an interim dividend of €0.2 per share.

Since March, Hibernia has completed the 2 Cumberland Place and 50 City Quay developments, delivering 62,500 square feet of new office space, and sold its Dockland Central space for €152.3m, in keeping with its strategy of concentrating on more energy efficient properties.

The proceeds are expected to be pumped into a potential 337,000 square foot pre-let at Harcourt Square, which would be its largest ever development, where discussions with KPMG are advanced.

“It has been pleasing to see the pick-up in activity in the Dublin office market since we reported in May, with particular interest in prime, ESG-efficient, city centre space,” said Hibernia chief executive officer (CEO) Kevin Nowlan.

“While the Government's decision this week to advise a temporary return to working from home is likely to impact activity in the near-term, with our clear strategy, an exciting development pipeline ready to start in 2022 and the team and funding in place to deliver

Goodbody analyst Colm Lauder said Hibernia’s growth will be enhanced “through its ambitious, and increasingly de-risked, development pipeline”.

“At a discount of 25pc, Hibernia REIT remains cheap, and we are buyers,” he said in a note on Thursday.

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