Dec 12 (Reuters) – Home REIT (HOMEH.L) said on Monday its auditor was carrying out “enhanced audit procedures” after short-seller Viceroy Research questioned the British housing provider’s financial status.
Shares in Home REIT, which repeated all allegations made by Viceroy were “without substance”, fell about 14% to a record low of 40.05 pence on Monday.
The housing provider for the homeless had delayed issuing its results, which were due on Nov. 28, pending verification by its auditor in the wake of last month’s Viceroy report.
This report had raised questions about a range of issues, including the valuation of Home REIT’s properties and the ability of its tenants to pay rent. Home REIT dismissed those and other allegations in a statement on Nov. 30.
The group said annual results for the period ending Aug. 31 would be published “as soon as practically possible” and expected this to be no later than January.
Home REIT said that after feedback from investors that its investment adviser, Alvarium Home REIT Advisors Limited, would hire additional senior level investment professionals to work alongside its senior fund managers.
It said it would also appoint a specialist national property management firm to carry out property management services, including rent invoicing and collection and tenant monitoring, the costs of which will be borne by the investment adviser.
Home REIT said it had also started a review of “skills and capability” at board level and was looking for one more non-executive director with direct experience in property and ESG.
It declared an interim dividend of 1.38 pence per share for the period from June 1 to Aug. 31, citing robust rental income, a strong balance sheet and a conservative leverage position.
Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza, Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Alexander Smith
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