The Fund realised a total return of 4.3% in 2019 (plan: 6.9%; 2018: 5.6%) consisting of 4.2% income return (plan: 4.5%; 2018: 3.5%) and 0.1% in capital growth (plan: 2.4%; 2018: 2.0%). The total return in euros fell to € 43.7 million, from
€ 48.7 million in 2018 (plan: € 63.3 million). The retail market remains challenging, resulting in a lower than planned capital growth.
The Fund’s invested capital increased to € 979 million in 2019 from € 970 million in 2018. The increase of € 9 million is a result of capital calls (€ 12 million), the addition of the net profit over 2019 to the equity (€ 44 million) and the payment of (interim) dividend to shareholders (€ 46 million).
The Fund realised an income return of 4.2% in 2019, which is 0.3% lower than plan (4.5%) and 0.7% higher than 2018 (3.5%). The income return is the result of increased net rental income from assets and an almost stable invested capital value.
The Fund continued to optimise its portfolio by putting two redeveloped assets into operation, De Muntpassage in Weert and Goverwelle shopping centre in Gouda, and selling several assets for a total of € 27 million. The occupancy rate for 2019 (96.5%) was 0.3% below plan (96.8%) and 1.4% higher than 2018 (95.2%). This led to a total rental income of € 56.4 million, € 0.9 million lower than plan and € 2.6 million higher than in 2018.
The property operating expenses of € 10.6 million were € 0.7 million higher than plan and € 0.4 million higher than in 2018. This resulted in € 45.8 million in net rental income, € 1.6 million lower than plan (€ 47.4 million) and € 2.2 million higher than in 2018 (€ 43.6 million).
In 2019, administrative costs were equal to the plan at € 5.1 million. Compared with 2018, these expenses were € 0.4 million higher, mainly due to higher management fee expenses as a result of the higher invested capital.
The Fund called up € 12 million for investments in redevelopment projects. The higher rental income combined with the nearly stable invested capital resulted in an increased income return of 4.2% compared with 2018 (3.5%).
The Fund realised a capital growth of 0.1% in 2019 compared to 2.4% in plan (2018: 2.0%). The values of the properties appreciated only slightly in 2019. The Fund is largely invested in the Randstad conurbation and has a continued focus on optimising its portfolio by upgrading and future-proofing its assets. Nevertheless, there is downward pressure on asset prices driven by the negative sentiment on the overall retail real estate market. The most marked appreciations were realised by the Goverwelle shopping centre in Gouda and P.C. Hooftstraat 195 in Amsterdam, while the largest depreciation was seen by De Promesse shopping centre in Lelystad.
The total property return for 2019 came in at 5.3% (plan: 7.5%; 2018: 7.0%) consisting of a 4.9% income return (plan: 5.1%; 2018: 5.0%) and a 0.4% capital growth (plan: 2.3%; 2018: 1.9%). The total property return outperformed the MSCI Netherlands Property Retail Index (all properties) in 2019 by 3.5% (total return MSCI: 1,8%). The outperformance is caused mainly by the slight positive capital growth of the fund in 2019 of 0.4%, whereas the benchmark recorded -2.9%.
The Fund return (INREV) and property return (MSCI) are different performance indicators. The Fund return is calculated according to the INREV Guidelines as a percentage of the net asset value (INREV NAV) and the property return is calculated according to the MSCI methodology as a percentage of the value of the investment properties. INREV e.g. includes cash, fee costs and administrative costs in the calculation of the income return (INREV). Furthermore, the amortisation of acquisition costs is treated differently by INREV and MSCI.
In 2019, we closed € 78 million in additional commitments with an existing shareholder. Last year 2019 we called up capital of € 12 million, putting the committed capital of our investors to work.
In accordance with the Information Memorandum, the Fund will be financed solely with equity and will have no leverage, but may borrow a maximum of 3% of the balance sheet total for liquidity management purposes.
In 2019, the Fund was financed solely with equity and did not use any loan capital for liquidity management purposes.
For treasury management purposes, the Fund acted in accordance with its treasury policy in 2019, in order to manage liquidity and financial risks for the Fund. The main objectives of the treasury management activities were to secure shareholders’ dividend pay-out and liquidity for redemptions, as well as to manage the Fund’s cash position.
At year-end 2019, the Fund had € 29.5 million in freely available cash. In 2019, the Fund's cash position improved by € 9.0 million, when compared to year-end 2018.
Interest rate and currency exposure
In 2019, the Fund was subject to the negative interest rates on its bank balances.
As the Fund had no external loans and borrowings, nor any foreign currency exposure in 2019. As a result the Fund had no exposure to interest rate risks or currency exposure risks. The interest rate risk related to bank balances is limited for the Retail Fund.
Dividend and dividend policy
The Executive Board of Directors proposes to pay a dividend of € 40.4 million for 2019 (2018: € 38.9 million), which corresponds to a pay-out ratio of 100%. It is proposed that the dividend will be paid in cash, within the constraints imposed by the company’s fiscal investment institution (FII) status. Of this total dividend, 75.4% was paid out in the course of 2019. The fourth instalment was paid in February 2020. The rest of the distribution over 2019 will be paid in one final instalment in May 2020 following the Annual General Meeting of shareholders on 15 April 2020.
The Fund qualifies as a fiscal investment institution (FII) under Dutch law and is as such subject to corporate tax at a rate of zero percent. Being an FII the Fund is obliged, among other things, to annually distribute its entire taxable result. The Fund complied with FII requirements in 2019.
The Fund met its obligations related to value added tax, transfer tax and other applicable taxes in their entirety in 2019.