A Westfield shopping centre has helped boost SPH REIT’s first-half performance, with the retail recovery helping the trust’s net income grow to $78.05m in the first half of its 2021 financial year – an increase of 2.6 per cent.

While gross revenue for the Singapore assets declined 6.7 per cent due to Covid-19 rental relief granted to eligible tenants, Westfield Marion Shopping Centre bolstered SPH REIT’s gross revenue to $140 million for the six months to the end of February, 2021.

The Singapore-based real estate investment trust, which has a portfolio of five assets in Singapore and Australia, reported a distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.44 cents for the first-half period – an improvement from the 1.68 cents paid out a year ago.

“Tenant sales at the Singapore assets showed signs of recovery following the phased lifting of safe distancing measures, driven by growing shoppers’ confidence in physical visits to the malls, and the festive season shopping,” the company said in a statement.

“Covid-19 incidents are low in South Australia and Wollongong where SPH REIT assets are located. Such incidents were also well managed, which boosted shoppers confidence. Tenant sales at both assets were resilient and tracked closely to prior years.

“We will continue to engage with our stakeholders to overcome the challenges ahead so as to position SPH REIT to be stronger for the future.”

SPH REIT’s 2019 purchase of the 50 per cent share of the Westfield Marion shopping centre in conjunction with ASX-listed financial services group Moelis Australia was largest retail transaction ever recorded in South Australia and one of the largest globally for 2019.

Scentre Group retained ownership of the remaining 50 per cent stake after the sale.

Westfield Marion is the eleventh-largest shopping centre in Australia and the largest in Adelaide.

It has a floorplate of almost 137,000 sqm, which brings in around $839 million in annual retail sales from department stores, 310 specialty stores, a fresh food precinct and a cinema.