We consider the key leverage metric for SEGRO to be proportionately consolidated (“look-through) loan to value ratio (LTV) which incorporates assets and net debt on SEGRO’s balance sheet and SEGRO’s share of assets and net debt on the balance sheets of its joint ventures. The LTV at 31 December 2022 on this ‘look-through’ basis was 32 per cent (31 December 2021: 23 per cent).
SEGRO’s borrowings contain gearing covenants based on Group net debt and net asset value, excluding debt in joint ventures. The gearing ratio of the Group at 31 December 2022, as defined within the principal debt funding arrangements of the Group, was 41 per cent (31 December 2021: 25 per cent). This is significantly lower than the Group’s tightest financial gearing covenant within these debt facilities of 160 per cent.
Property valuations would need to fall by around 48 per cent from their 31 December 2022 values to reach the gearing covenant threshold of 160 per cent.
The Group has negligible transactional foreign currency exposure, but does have a potentially significant currency translation exposure arising on the conversion of its substantial foreign currency denominated assets (mainly euro) and euro denominated earnings into sterling in the Group consolidated accounts.
The Group seeks to limit its exposure to volatility in foreign exchange rates by hedging its foreign currency gross assets using either borrowings or derivative instruments. The Group targets a hedging range of between the last reported LTV ratio (32 per cent at 31 December 2022) and 100 per cent.
At 31 December 2022, the Group had gross foreign currency assets which were 76 per cent (31 December 2021: 62 per cent) hedged by gross foreign currency denominated liabilities (including the impact of derivative financial instruments).
The Group’s interest rate risk policy is designed to ensure that we limit our exposure to volatility in interest rates.
The policy states that between 50 and 100 per cent of net borrowings (including the Group’s share of borrowings in joint ventures and associates) should be at fixed or capped rates, including the impact of derivative financial instruments.
At 31 December 2022, including the impact of derivative instruments, 95 per cent (31 December 2021: 65 per cent) of the net borrowings of the Group (including the Group’s share of borrowings within joint ventures and associates) were at fixed or capped rates. As interest rates have fallen, however, the gap between absolute fixed cover and the protection offered by caps has increased. The pure fixed only level of debt is 83 per cent at 31 December 2022 (31 December 2021: 46 per cent).