Workspace shares down on H1 loss

Workspace shares (LON: WKP) were down 3.24% on Wednesday after the group shared its half-year results for the period to 30 September 2020.

Despite the challenging operating environment amid the pandemic, the group shared results that showed “resilience” thanks to its flexible customer-focused offering and freehold ownership model.

In the six months to the end of September, Workspace made a pre-tax loss of £110.4m – compared to the £99.1m profit made a year earlier.

With the loss, the group’s board will defer a decision on dividend payment until the full year.

Like-for-like occupancy fell by 7.8% to 85.5%; rent per square foot and 95% of rents due for the first half were successfully collected.

Graham Clemett, the group’s chief executive, commented on the results: “Like so many businesses, we have had a challenging first half as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the difficult environment, we have delivered a resilient performance which has highlighted the strength of our offering and business model. We have sought to support our customers as much as possible during this time, offering the majority a 50% rent discount in the first quarter.

“We believe our freehold ownership model, our financial strength and our long-established flexible offer will be an attractive option for an increasing number of London businesses as the economy recovers. In this regard, it was encouraging to see the increase in enquiries and lettings from new customers to near pre-Covid levels in the second quarter, confirming the appeal of our offer.

“Our immediate priority is to manage our way through the challenges of the second half of the year. With Government Covid-19 restrictions in place we expect to see further pressure on occupancy and pricing in the near-term, which will impact on our full year performance. However, our strong balance sheet, compelling customer offer and experienced team mean that Workspace is well positioned to navigate the challenges ahead and benefit as the economy recovers.”

Workspace shares (LON: WKP) are trading -3.17% at 732,00 (1422GMT). In the year to date, shares have fallen from a high of 1.317,00.