Industrial property investor Property For Industry has lifted first-half profit 21 per cent, a year on from its merger with Direct Property Fund which increased its portfolio by two-thirds.

Profit rose to $14.42 million for the six months ended June 30, from $11.87 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement.

It was just short of Forsyth Barr’s forecast of $14.8m.

Rental income more than doubled to $32.07m, while operating expenses jumped to $13m, from $6.4m, keeping in line with previous periods operating ratio at about 40 per cent.

The merger with Direct Property last year boosted PFI’s portfolio from 50 sites to 83.

At balance date it had 79 locations after shedding four properties for a gross sale price of $11.3m, as part of its strategy to sell non-core properties to invest in better suited sites.

In July, after the balance date, it entered an unconditional agreement to buy a 14,995 square metre site in Wellington for $15.4m.

“The programme for divesting non-core assets in 2014 is largely complete,” said joint general manager Simon Woodhams. “We will continue to seek to recycle the capital into accretive core industrial opportunities.”

Guidance was unchanged, with the property investor expecting cash dividends to be 7.25 cents.

By Suze Metherell