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Assura grows revenues by 40%

Primary care property firm Assura is progressing with plans to become a real estate investment trust (REIT) after growing revenues by 40% to £34.1 million last year. 

The group also reported a pre-tax loss of £63.3 million for the year ended 31 March 2012, down from a profit of £15.1 million in 2011, after being hit by exceptional costs of £75 million.

This included a £54.7 million payment to settle an interest rate swap arrangement with National Australia Bank. 

Underlying profits for the period increased to £7.1 million from £700,000 in 2011. 

The group also reported that rent roll has risen by 12% to £34.9 million (2011: £31.1 million). 

Graham Roberts, chief executive of the group, told HealthInvestor of Assura’s intention to convert to REIT status, in a move designed to reduce its corporate tax liability. REITs are required to distribute 90% of their taxable income to investors. 

Assura completed nine new developments during the period at a cost of £37.4 million, and the construction of a further six developments are currently underway. 

The group has announced plans for another eight projects which are set to begin construction during the current period at a cost of £41.7 million. 

Simon Laffin, group chairman, said: “Our largely government-backed rental stream and our long-term secured financing now enables us to start paying a quarterly and progressive dividend.”