Kingston Properties says cash will cushion COVID-19 impact

Kingston Properties Limited (KPREIT) indicates that it has enough cash to deal with any volatile flows from tenants in the coming months.

A message from the CEO, Kevin Richards, published via the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) said that although the company is near to closing two transactions involving property purchase, it will have sufficient cash balances to handle delays in rental collections.

The company raised $2 billion through a rights issue in November 2019.

Kingston Properties chief executive officer, Kevin Richards

The funds were intended to grow its portfolio, especially in Jamaica and Cayman.

In the latest notice, Richards said, “We have completed due diligence on two deals currently close to completion and have been working with our partners to ensure smooth closings despite any disruption that may occur with our financial partners during this period.

“Additionally, we have boosted our remote office capabilities to continue to fulfill our mandate to all our stakeholders.”

– Kingston Properties chief executive officer, Kevin Richards

“Rest assured that even on the closing of these two transactions, we will still maintain very solid cash balances that would allow us to deal with any volatility of flows from our existing tenants and to take advantage of any opportunities that may be on offer that meets our investment criteria.”

The company also said it was closely following developments related to the spread of COVID-19 and wished Jamaicans affected well.

The CEO said, “We have been keenly following the latest developments with the new Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) both from the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Jamaica and the World Health Organization (WHO).”

It noted that accordingly, new protocols were being implemented throughout its properties.

Richards said, “For the last several weeks, we have been taking steps at our properties to safeguard and protect our stakeholders by not only providing information to our tenants, employees and partners but equipping all common areas of our properties with hand sanitising dispensers and establishing protocols for access to each property. In addition, we have been working with our partners to ensure common areas are thoroughly cleaned and sanitised.”

KPREIT also owns a fully tenanted, mixed-use building in the Seven Mile Beach area of George Town. (Photo: Kingston Properties)

The CEO stated that the company is also pursuing a flexi-work plan which will involve staggered periods when staff will be present in the office.  

“Additionally, we have boosted our remote office capabilities to continue to fulfill our mandate to all our stakeholders.”

Current square footage under management is 153,000 of which 36 per cent is residential, 27 per cent office, 30 per cent warehouse and industrial and seven per cent retail.

 In November investment properties are currently valued at J$2.7 billion.

The prospectus for the rights issue last year had indicated new targets as including properties in the Cayman Islands “covering the fast-growing Seven Mile Beach stretch; the re-emergent George Town office district; and the ever-expanding industrial area with close proximity to the recently expanded and upgraded Owen Roberts International Airport.”

In Jamaica, the intent was expressed to focus on commercial real estate opportunities, especially in the warehousing sphere.