Sunday 25 September 2016

Commercial landlord giant fears rent caps

Published 07/08/2015 | 02:30

Ireland is the only one of the firm's markets that is name-checked as a possible regulatory risk.
Ireland is the only one of the firm's markets that is name-checked as a possible regulatory risk.

The country's biggest landlord says the possible introduction of rent controls or "further political and regulatory changes that affect the property sector" here is one of the principal risks to its business globally.

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US property group Kennedy Wilson has been on a buying spree in Ireland since the crash. Along with other property firms it has been a vocal lobbyist against government interference in the market and has made no secret of its concern around the introduction of rent controls in particular.

However, in its half-year results, Kennedy Wilson goes further, and claims it "if the proposal of imposition of rent controls restricting rent increases is implemented in Ireland, and there are further political and regulatory changes that affect the property sector, this could impact our ability to increase our profitability in the medium to long term".

Ireland is the only one of the firm's markets that is name-checked as a possible regulatory risk.

The move came as the firm increased its dividend by a quarter after strong H1 results.

The company, which owns numerous office blocks in Dublin and is developing apartments at Clancy Quay said is increasing its dividend by a quarter after it increased its net asset value by 9.1pc to 1114.5p.

NAV is the key measure of a property company, especially one that is relatively new like Kennedy Wilson's Europe business.

Company ceo Mary Ricks commented: "Our active investment and asset management initiatives are bearing fruit with excellent first half operational metrics driving robust financial results with more to come.

"I'm particularly pleased with our ability to generate value across our like-for-like portfolio both in terms of NOI growth and our valuation surplus.

"The team continues to source the right investment opportunities with value enhancing potential. The combination of our financing capacity and future disposal pipeline will allow us to recycle capital and deliver on our investment pipeline," she added.

In Ireland, KWE believes the improving economic outlook is "translating into improved occupational demand across our key sectors".

The company has over 330,000 sq ft of rent reviews pending on Dublin office space between now and end 2018.

Irish Independent

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