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Primary Health Properties raises dividend payments after strong rental growth

London-based real estate investment trust Primary Health Properties raised its annual dividend for the twenty-first year in a row thanks to a more than doubled IFRS pre-tax profit.
In its preliminary report card for the year ended 31 December, Primary saw IFRS pre-tax profits soar 110.3% from £43.7m to £91.9m, leading the company to boost its dividend payment to 5.25p per share, a 2.4% increase on the previous year's 5.125p figure.

Net rental income increased by 7.1% to £71.3m after PHP acquired ten new properties during the year for £71.9m, with a large average lot size of £7.2m and average patient size of around 14,000, adding £3.7m to the contracted rent roll.

PHP's total portfolio was valued at £1.362bn as of 31 December, with a strong pipeline of targeted acquisitions of approximately £150m.

IFRS earnings per share increased by 96.2% to 15.3p.

Harry Hyman, PHP's managing director, said, "I am delighted to report that PHP once again increased its total dividend, its 21st successive year of dividend growth. Increasing our income and dividends is key to our strategy as a modern healthcare REIT. Importantly, we have continued our progressive dividend policy into 2018 by increasing the first quarterly payment, which on an annualised basis reflects a return of 5.4p per share."

"PHP is providing capital for the modernisation of the primary healthcare estate both in the UK and Ireland. Our well-financed and disciplined approach to investment and active asset management is delivering for shareholders. This is reflected in the strong performance of all of key indicators across the Company. PHP is very active in its marketplace and has a strong targeted pipeline that meets our criteria. This bodes well for 2018 and beyond. We look forward to the future with confidence," Hyman added.

As of 1120 GMT, shares had nudged forward 0.35% to 115.40p.

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