British Land sees value of holdings fall by £1bn during pandemic

British Land confirmed its third annual loss in a row

British Land, one of the UK’s largest property development and investment companies, has seen the value of its properties fall by £1bn due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

As the outlook for high streets and shopping centres worsened, many businesses were forced to close, and the FTSE 100 company saw its portfolio fall by more than 10% to £9.1bn.

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British Land confirmed its third annual loss in a row, as its loss after tax came in at £1.08bn. A year earlier the company made a £1.11bn loss.

The property development company said that offices lost 3.8% of their value during the year to March 31, while shopping centres saw their value fall by 36%.

British Land’s underlying profit dropped by 34% to £201m as many tenants became unable to pay their rent.

At early morning trading, British Land shares are down by 1.69% to 510.80p.

British Land’s chief executive commented on the company’s results and looked ahead:

“While Covid-19 has clearly impacted our performance, with the portfolio value down 10.8%, we have a strong balance sheet and have already delivered excellent progress against our four priorities. We’ve sold £1.2bn of assets, overall 6.2% ahead of book value, completed our first net zero development at 100 Liverpool Street and committed to develop Norton Folgate and 1 Broadgate, where we have pre let nearly 30% of the office space to JLL. We have made our first logistics acquisition in north London and acquired £197m of high quality retail parks. Operationally, we have driven rent collection and leasing activity, which at 1.7m sq ft in Retail was our highest ever. I would like to thank the whole team for their incredible efforts this year.”

“Looking forward, we will further align our business to growth and value, benefitting from the pick up in economic activity that is now emerging. On our Campuses, we have an opportunity to introduce innovative growth sectors including life sciences at Regent’s Place. At Canada Water our planning permission is deliberately flexible, enabling us to deliver a range of uses aligned to growth and long term trends. In Retail & Fulfilment we will continue to target value opportunities in retail parks and development-led, logistics in London. We will maintain our focus on the everyday management of our spaces: driving rent collection, supporting our customers and making our space more sustainable.”

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