National Storage footnotes strong year with $175m capital raising

National Storage footnotes strong year with $175m capital raising

In a move to strengthen its balance sheet and support its consolidation strategy, National Storage REIT (ASX: NSR) has capped off a strong financial year with a $175 million equity raising.

The Brisbane storage solutions provider went into a trading halt on Wednesday morning before revealing its FY18 results alongside the equity raising, which is comprised of a $50 million institutional component and a $125 million entitlement offer to be completed this week.

The company's aim through the equity raising is to "reset" its balance sheet at a lower gearing level to provide funding for ongoing investments.

It's a strategy that is indicative of the company's activities over the past year.

During FY18, the company made $155 million worth of acquisitions and launched several new 'strategic initiatives' aimed at unlocking new sources of capital.

These included an agreement with property group Stockland to identify mixed use storage opportunities, a new capital partnership in New Zealand over around NZ$120 million of existing assets and expanding the company's development pipeline.

National Storage has its sights set on revamping a potential 25 existing assets and adding five new projects to this development pipeline, adding approximately 3,000sqm of lettable area to attract up to an additional $1 million per centre.

Managing director Andrew Catsoulis (pictured) says the company is now primed for significant growth over the short term.

"NSR's portfolio now has the scale, quality and maturity to reset the strategy for portfolio optimisation, in a way that releases capital for continued growth by acquisitions, generates higher profitability from capturing the alternative use value embedded in our portfolio and reduces NSR's reliance on capital markets for medium term growth," says Catsoulis.

"We are confident that by doing so, stronger earnings and distribution growth will be delivered to securityholders over the next few years."

National Storage profits increased by 41 per cent to hit $145.8 million at the full year, while revenue in its key storage division increased by 18 per cent at $124.6 million.

The company declared a final distribution of 4.9 cents per share, taking its total FY18 distribution to 9.6 cents per share.

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