From left, chief corporate officer Hektar Asset Management Sdn Bhd, Zarina Halim, chief executive officer Hektar Asset Management Sdn Bhd, Datuk Hisham Othman and senior general manager finance of Hektar Asset Management Sdn Bhd, Khairul Azizan Ahmad during Hektar Real Estate Investment Trust (Hektar REIT) 7th Annual General Meeting at Sime Darby Convention Centre, yesterday. NSTP picture by NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM.

KUALA LUMPUR: Hektar Real Estate Investment Trust (Hektar REIT) is on track to double its portfolio asset value to RM2.4 billion by 2026, as it is in the hunt for one more asset this year.

Chief executive officer Datuk Hisham Othman said the firm was in an active negotiation with a mall owner over a potential acquisition move.

The asset is likely located outside Klang Valley as it aims to move away from the overcrowded malls in the city centre, he added.

“Our clear focus in terms of geographical asset diversification has proven effective in mitigating the negative exposure of economic downturns that has been affecting the industry in the last few years.

“We are tapping on the stable purchasing power in smaller underserved cities by bringing in new local and international brands and retailers to the area,” he told reporters after the REIT’s annual general meeting here.

“We believe that by strategically selecting the location of our assets has in many ways secured our success to date,” he added.

As of today, the REIT's asset value stood at RM1.2 billion following its acquisition of Segamat Central, catering to a market catchment of three million shoppers.

Hisham said the firm is expected to hold up in this year after a challenging 2018.

Last year saw the firm secured a portfolio occupancy rate of 92.1 per cent, the lowest since 2007 but still above the 90 per cent mark.

It was also slightly above the industry average of 92 per cent.

Hisham said Hektar REIT will continue to focus on improving its shopping centres under its portfolio which include asset enhancement initiatives, energy saving initiatives and extensive tenancy remixing and reconfiguration of lettable space.

“Earlier this year, we have carried a market study on Segamat Central, which has helped us gain insight on how to proceed with turning around the property,” he added.