​​​​​​What it does

Supermarket Income Reit PLC (LON:SUPR) is an investment trust that specialises in the supermarket freehold and long-leasehold property.

Supermarket Income’s current portfolio comprises nine sites occupied by Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons supermarket stores.

The company was set up by an ex-Goldman Sachs pair, Ben Green and Steve Windsor, who used to work with supermarkets to sell and lease back stores, carrying out several billion pounds worth of deals over the years.  

With the advent of IFRS accounting rules, meaning that assets that supermarkets had been able to class as off their balance sheet now were being classed on their balance sheet, Green and Windsor saw a consolidation role would be profitable.

They set up Atrato Capital, which is the trust’s adviser and since March has counted ex-Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King as a senior investment advisor.

 

How does the trust work?

Purchases are made only of supermarket property with long unexpired lease terms, with a targeted average lease term of more than 15 years, leased only to the UK’s big four supermarkets on upward only rental contracts to provide investors with income security and considerable inflation protection.

Investments may in future be made in assets let to other supermarket operators such as Aldi, Lidl, Marks & Spencer or Waitrose.

In the short-term, the firm is looking for interesting opportunities to acquire new spaces from other companies needing to make a sale.

 

How it is doing

At the end of April, Supermarket Income successfully doubled the size of a fundraising to its target of £139.8mln from a substantially oversubscribed placing.

The aim is to purchase two supermarket properties with a value of around £115mln, with a further pipeline of assets having been identified with an approximate value of £180mln.

As the grocery sector is benefitting from the coronavirus crisis, the property owner received 100% of its expected rent payments for the March quarter even earlier.

Following reviews at one of its Tesco superstores and a Morrisons supermarket since the start of the year, the total rent from the portfolio increased to £28.4mln from £28.03mln.

As a result, the firm is on track to declare the latest quarterly dividend on time, scheduled for 8 April.

It is also keeping the target of 5.8p per share for the total dividend.

 

What the boss says: Nick Hewson, chairman

“The ability of omnichannel supermarkets to supply the local communities they serve has never been more important than it is now in response to [coronavirus].”

“As a board, we are fortunate during these difficult times to be able to raise capital to offer liquidity to vendors of supermarkets who may need the proceeds for other purposes.”

“With the sector trading robustly in the current climate, our investment strategy remains focused on delivering stable, long-term, inflation-protected income through investing in the future model of UK Grocery.”

 

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Inflexion points

  • Estate could expand
  • Continues to pay dividend
  • Potentially one of the winners in the coronavirus crisis