Sunday 4 December 2016

Hibernia Reit shares climb as interim profits double

Published 13/11/2015 | 02:30

Mr Nowlan said the Twitter letting had opened the way to securing more technology clients.
Mr Nowlan said the Twitter letting had opened the way to securing more technology clients.

Twitter's decision to take over Hibernia Reit's Cumberland House office block has set the stage for a new slew of lettings for the property group, chief executive Kevin Nowlan has said.

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Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Nowlan said the Twitter letting had opened the way to securing more technology clients.

"It is a big boost for the credibility of the organisation to land a tenant of that quality," he said.

"When you're dealing with tenants of that calibre they have to trust that you can deliver and word spreads in that industry quite quickly," Mr Nowlan said.

The Hibernia CEO was speaking after the company said it doubled its profits and signed off on a €400m lending facility.

The strong numbers sent Hibernia shares up nearly 4pc in Dublin, bucking the trend as the wider market fell.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Hibernia Reit said its profits for the six months to the end of September came in at €73.7m - up from €31m on the same period in 2014.

Net asset value - a key measure of a property company's profitability - rose 9.1pc.

The company has also secured a new revolving credit facility worth €400m. This replaces an existing €100m facility and will give the company the ability to "move quickly" if the "right opportunity arises".

Bank of Ireland, Barclays Bank Ireland and Ulster Bank are acting as joint bookrunners and joint arrangers and participating in the facility.

While some firms have commented on a possible coming deluge of office space in Dublin, Mr Nowlan played down those concerns.

"If you look at the numbers, there is still a big shortage of space in Dublin and in the right areas," Mr Nowlan claimed.

By the close in Dublin, Hibernia shares were up 3.5pc. The shares are up 23pc in the past 12 months.

Elsewhere, Hammerson has appointed Simon Betty as retail director for Ireland. This is Hammerson's first move since the company's acquisition of the Project Jewel loan portfolio from Nama in September.

Mr Betty will effectively run the business here, which includes loans tied to the Dundrum Town Centre, the Ilac Centre, and Pavillions in Swords.

"Simon's appointment reflects the significant opportunity we see in Ireland and our commitment to having a senior Hammerson team on the ground," said company chief executive David Atkins.

Irish Independent

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