The real estate fund Helvetia (CH) Swiss Property Fund launched by Helvetia Asset Management Ltd on 3 June 2020 closed its short first financial year as at 30 September 2020. The fund’s first four months were a success. Worth CHF 532.4 million, the initial portfolio of 29 properties developed positively despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Property income solid and vacancy rate low
Rent income in the short first financial year totalled CHF 7.2 million. Factoring in maintenance and repair costs, net income amounted to a solid CHF 4.2 million. The geographically widely diversified portfolio has a high residential component of approximately 83 percent of the target rent income. How is all this impacting the vacancy rate? As at 30 September 2020 the vacancy rate was a low 2.9 percent.
Portfolio highly resilient and market value on a positive trend
On the strength of the dominant residential component and the attractive offering of rental properties at good locations, the portfolio of the Helvetia (CH) Swiss Property Fund remained largely unscathed by the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the short first financial year. This underscores the portfolio’s strong crisis resistance. The portfolio showed a market value of CHF 536.1 million as at 30 September 2020. The positive change in value of CHF 3.7 million (+0.7%) is due largely to the consistently high demand for yield-producing properties at good locations, which caused a slight decrease in the discount rates applied.
Encouraging price performance despite one-off transaction costs
As expected, the net fund assets (NAV) were impacted during the reporting period by one-off transaction costs for the acquisition of the real estate portfolio. The positive performance of the portfolio partly compensated for this. Accordingly, the NAV decreased slightly to CHF 441.1 million (CHF 98.03 per unit) as at 30 September 2020, representing a reduction of 1.97 percent. In response to this one-off effect, the fund management company has decided not to distribute income in the short first financial year and instead to carry the net income of CHF 4.2 million forward to the new financial year. By contrast, over-the-counter trading followed a favourable trend, increasing to CHF 106.00 at the end of the financial year (performance of 3.92 percent).
Further expansion of real estate portfolio planned
The fund management company intends to expand the real estate portfolio further in the next few years. Given their capacity to generate stable rent income, the investment focus is on cities and towns in high-growth business regions and their catchment areas. The portfolio will be built up further primarily through portfolio transactions from the insurance portfolio of Helvetia Insurance. Selective purchases can also be made on the market. A listing on SIX Swiss Exchange is planned in two to four years.
The fund agreement and the annual report are available at www.swissfunddata.ch