NewRiver Retail, the UK retail REIT, grew its portfolio 8.8% in the third quarter of 2014 following a £30m acquisition spree.

NewRiver Retail

The company completed a number of acquisitions during the three months to 31 December 2014, which meant its portfolio grew to £800m, compared to £735m at the end of the previous quarter.

The group completed £30.3m of acquisitions during the period, comprising two shopping centres, five high street units and two retail warehouses. Total rent roll under management increased by 4.9% to £70.7m a year, compared to £67.4m to September 2014.

It completed 54 new lettings of which new long-term deals achieved a rental income of 7.8% above valuation ERV with an average lease length of 7.6 years. Occupier incentives continued to decrease, now at an average of five months equivalent rent for the period.

Weighted average lease expiry for the retail portfolio was 7.6 years, with occupancy standing at 96%.

During the period 24 planning applications were submitted, which if granted will enable the company to deliver over 78,000 sq ft of new development space for retail-led and mixed-use, including convenience stores, hotels, leisure and residential.

NewRIver also stated that footfall continued to grow across the portfolio increasing 3.47% on a like-for-like basis. This was boosted by the Christmas trade and Black Friday with various shopping centres reporting uplifts of between 6% and 20%.

The group also completed an equity fundraising of £75m at 275p per share in December, enabling the company to acquire the remaining 90% it did not already own of its shopping centre joint venture with LVS.

Quarterly dividend policy commenced with a second interim dividend of 4.25p per share, announced in November 2014, and a third interim dividend of 4.25 pence per share, announced in December 2014.

Acquistions in the period included The Sand Portfolio, which included the Arndale Shopping Centre in Morecombe, for £19m, and the Montague Shopping Centre in Worthing for £5.82m.

David Lockhart, chief executive at NewRiver Retail, said: “We are delighted to have concluded 2014 with such a highly active third quarter. During the period we executed our growth strategy by completing £30.3 million of acquisitions and submitted major planning applications, which if granted will enable us to deliver over 78,000 sq ft of new development space. We look forward to the opportunities that 2015 presents, particularly following our most recent acquisition of a major UK shopping centre portfolio which promises exciting value-enhancing asset management and risk controlled development opportunities.”

Shares in NewRiver were up 3% to 292p in early trading.