letter to our shareholders
LETTER TO SHAREHOLDERS
The first six months of 2023/24 were successful in operating terms. As expected, however, the uncertain economic situation and rising interest rates impacted on the revaluation of our properties. Thanks to a positive asset management performance, Züblin’s key performance indicators as of 30 September 2023 illustrate the company’s ability to deliver a solid result in a challenging market environment.
Improved operating result in the first half
In a demanding market environment dominated by caution, Züblin nonetheless achieved a solid result in the first six months of 2023/24 thanks to strong operational performance. Rent index increases and new lettings were important contributors to the operating result, leading to an increase by around 4.9% to CHF 4.3 million. In addition, the ratio of administrative expenses to rental income improved to 24.8% (previous year: 27.2%). At CHF 1.1 million, personnel and administrative expenses were down slightly on the previous year.
The revaluation of the real estate portfolio led to an adjustment of CHF 2.2 million. The lower valuation was due firstly to an increase in the average nominal discount rate by 10 basis points owing to the higher interest rate environment. At the same time net initial yield remained at an attractive level of 3.8% (previous year: 3.7%). Secondly, financial expenses increased from CHF 0.3 million to CHF 0.8 million as a result of higher interest rates. The average effective interest rate as of 30 September 2023 was 2.6% (previous year: 1.2%).
Good operating performance, particularly with regard to lettings, enabled Züblin to report a positive first half of 2023/24 overall despite the more difficult operating environment and general market challenges. Net profit for the reporting period amounted to CHF 0.5 million (previous year: CHF 3.4 million). The decline in net profit of CHF 2.9 million is mainly due to lower revalutions (–CHF 2.7 million after tax) and higher financial expenses (+CHF 0.5 million) in light of the changed interest rate environment.
Stable portfolio – WALT at 6.3 years
The letting business performed well in the reporting period and led to a significant increase in WALT (weighted average lease term) from 2.9 to 6.3 years. The total asset value of the real estate portfolio, which continues to comprise six properties, stood at CHF 225.9 million as of 30 September 2023. Owing to inflation, the predominantly indexed lease contracts are expected to give a significant uplift to operating income from letting in the current financial year.
In particular, lease extensions with longstanding tenants helped to lend further stability to the portfolio. Leases with two of our top five tenants were extended, one until 2029 and the other until at least 2035. The positive results of our active marketing give us confidence that we will be able to further reduce the vacancy rate from the current 8.9% in the second half of 2023/24.
Züblin Board & Management
Yves Rossier, David C. Schärli,
Dr. Markus Wesnitzer, Roland Friederich, Nicolas Gross
Solid balance sheet – LTV at 28.7%
Supported by a solid equity ratio of 59.0% (31 March 2023: 59.5%), Züblinʼs total assets amounted to CHF 230.1 million as of 30 September 2023. Net asset value (NAV) per share was CHF 40.92, slightly lower than the figure as of 31 March 2023 (CHF 41.77) after the distribution of CHF 1.00 to shareholders in June 2023.
At the end of the first half of the year, the real estate portfolio was valued at CHF 225.9 million. Five of our six investment properties continue to be financed by a framework financing of CHF 100.0 million expiring in 2029. As of the balance sheet date, the amount drawn remained unchanged at CHF 65.0 million. Accordingly, the LTV ratio is 28.7% (31 March 2023: 28.6%).
Recent months have been demanding and challenging for all sectors and industries and we are proud of the cooperative partnership with our tenants, which has proved particularly valuable in this environment. We are confident of being able to continue our steady operating performance in the second half of financial year 2023/24. Our focus will remain on developing our properties in a sustainable and quality-driven manner and reducing vacancies. Our medium-term objective remains unchanged: to expand the portfolio substantially by acquiring properties that conform with our strategy.
Dr. Markus Wesnitzer
CEO / CFO