Our aim is to provide shareholders with an attractive return, by investing in a diversified portfolio of UK healthcare real estate assets, in particular residential and nursing care homes.
This return will primarily be in the form of quarterly dividends. High-quality and financially sound tenants, long leases and inflation-linked rent reviews give us secure and stable income, which underpins our dividend payments. Our ability to add value through selective acquisitions and asset management offers the potential for income and capital growth for shareholders.
We and our Investment Manager believe that residential healthcare is a significant investment opportunity in the UK. A growing and ageing population is increasing demand for care, while the supply of suitable assets for providing that care is falling. As a well-capitalised landlord with an experienced Investment Manager, we should be well positioned to deliver attractive returns to investors, while providing stability to residents and a commitment to enhance their homes wherever possible.
£16.5 billion pounds a year is spent on providing residential care for elderly people in the UK,
approximately 0.8% of UK GDP. The market is expected to grow as the population ages. Demand
for care is non-cyclical and hence more predictable, enabling us to plan for the longer term.
We think about risk at different levels: maintaining a strong balance sheet, with modest levels of debt; monitoring the performance of tenants carefully; not diluting our level of rent cover as we add new tenants; and thinking about the future sustainability of our portfolio and how we can best manage it through asset and portfolio management.
We benefit from the knowledge, expertise and relationships of our Investment Manager. They allow us to source and negotiate deals off market, which offer shareholders good value and deliver to vendors the certain execution they are looking for. A main focus of our Investment Manager is to establish and develop long-term partnerships with our tenants.
Our portfolio generates a high-quality, sustainable and growing income stream. This allows us to target a progressive dividend policy. We aim to grow shareholder returns through dividend increases and capital appreciation. Our strong lease structures offer us 100% inflation-linked income with low volatility.
Our portfolio is carefully constructed to combine core assets which generate predictable income and assets where there is potential to add value through asset management initiatives. Asset
management benefits our shareholders, our tenants and the residents in our homes.
At the end of 2019 we owned less than 1% of the operational beds in the highly fragmented UK elderly care market. Since early 2018 we have been growing our portfolio, adding an average of a new tenant each quarter and acquiring homes which are accretive to our portfolio. The transactions announced post balance sheet demonstrate we can continue to grow while exercising strong capital discipline.
Duncote The Lakes is a new dementia care unit near Towcaster, Northamptonshire, offering facilities to care for residents while maintaining their independence