Big box logistics operator delays 15% of Q2 rents

Tritax EuroBox has agreed to delay 15% of rent due in the second quarter of the year until next year and has paused new capital expenditure.

The investor, which has a portfolio of 12 big box logistics assets let to 21 companies, revealed it has agreed the delays in an update to shareholders on the impact of Covid-19 on the business.

The rent concession amounts to €1.6 mln of the total €10.14 mln due to the REIT between 1 April and 30 June 2020.

All rent due for the quarter ended 31 March 2020 has been collected.

The company also said that it has temporarily paused investments and material new expenditure to protect the balance sheet. The REIT had an LTV ratio of 43% at the start of February 2020 and added that rental income would have to fall by 50% and asset values by 30% before any of its principal debt covenants were breached.

Tritax EuroBox’s statement is in line with anecdotal evidence from lenders which say that most sponsors were able to make interest payments through March into April with relatively high levels of rent collection in many real estate sectors.

‘The March quarter day was surprisingly strong in terms of interest payments which is why we are slightly nervous about what happens in June’, said one property banker. There is no suggestion that Tritax EuroBox will breach any covenants.

Tritax EuroBox said that all its tenants were still operating their properties although some at reduced capacity due to lower business volumes or government restrictions.

Longer term, the forces driving demand in big box logistics could be accelerated as a result of the pandemic, the group said.

‘We anticipate that the recent marked increase in online retail use in Europe will lead to retailers having an even greater focus on growing their e-commerce platforms..and also companies holding higher inventory levels to protect against potential supply chain disruption.’

The REIT will publish its interim results on 19 May.