Acorn Investment Management Limited (AIML), the entity behind Qwetu and Qejani Student Residences, has announced a combined net profit of Ksh855 million for its Acorn Student Accommodation Income REIT (ASA I-REIT) and the Acorn Student Accommodation Development REIT (ASA D-REIT) – together referred to as ASA REITs – for the year ended December 2022.
This exhibited the key feature of REITs, which is to provide steady growth and consistent performance, ideal for long-term institutional investors and retail individuals with the mindset for safe wealth accumulation.
Furthermore, the ASA REITs continue their robust progress with a fourth dividend pay-out by the ASA I-REIT in two years, with shareholders receiving a full-year dividend payout of Ksh192.5 million compared to Ksh169.6 million in 2021.
The ASA I-REIT recorded a 21.3% growth in rental income for the year ended December 2022 to post Ksh442 million compared to Ksh334 million in 2021; while comprehensive income for the year grew by 19.4% to Ksh505 million from Ksh387 million in the previous year.
See Also >> 8 High-Flying Women In Kenya’s Corporate World
Profitability was driven by strong occupancy through the operational properties, rent escalation and optimized operational efficiency, as well as the scaling up of the portfolio through the acquisition of two new assets (Qwetu Parklands and Qwetu Aberdare Heights).
This performance was achieved despite the disruption to the 2022 academic calendar, which meant that the May intake for several universities did not materialize. The disruption is not expected in 2023 as the academic calendar has normalized.
The ASA D-REIT achieved total comprehensive income for 2022 of Ksh349.7 million. The reduced comprehensive income from Ksh776 million in 2021 is primarily a result of IFRS requirements on treatment of fair market gains and interest expense. This is a normal feature of development funds such as ASA D-REIT. In the first two years since inception, the REIT has achieved accumulated profits of Ksh1.125 billion which puts it in a strong position to pay future dividends
The ASA D-REIT continued a robust trajectory by completing two additional properties in 2022. The REIT also commenced construction on two new properties at JKUAT and Hurlingham.
The Managing Director of AIML, Mr Raghav Gandhi said, 2022 was not without its headwinds, evidenced by the overall performance of the capital markets. The ASA REITs nevertheless exhibited strong growth despite the challenging environment, he said, which puts a strong case for investing in REITs.
“After all, we are announcing our fourth straight dividend from the ASA I-REIT,” Mr Gandhi said. “Our focus during the past year was to lay the foundations for future growth and this included the validation of the investment thesis through the scaling up of the ASA REITs and the first milestone transaction between the ASA D-REIT and the ASA I-REIT. We believe that our work in 2022 holds us in good stead for the upcoming phase of further growth.”