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Land Securities collects 60% of rents, plans to resume dividends in November

All its offices are open, while almost four-fifths of retail outlets were trading by June 30, the property giant said

Land Securities -
Offices are seeing a return to work

Land Securities PLC (LON:LAND), the property titan, said it has collected only 60% of the rent due for the June quarter but is seeing office occupancy recover as coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease.

The FTSE100-listed firm also said it will resume dividend payments following the group's interim results in November.

Rent collections in June amounted to £65mln, the company said, well below the net rent expected of £109mln which allowed for deferrals and concessions.

The group added that 75% of rent due for the March quarter had now been paid compared to 65% after five working days, with 98% of office rents collected for the quarter.

All its offices are open said LandSec, while almost four-fifths of retail outlets were trading by June 30, 2020.

"In England, for the two-week period since non-essential retail opened on 15 June, footfall in our centres was 60% of the level achieved in the equivalent period last year and like-for-like store sales were 80% of the level achieved last year.

"Over the same two-week period, average transaction values were up 22% compared with last year," the group said.

Hotels managed by Accor will start to reopen over the next three months, it added.

“Our high-quality office estate is open and we are seeing early signs of growing occupancy as customers return to work,” LandSec said. 

Offices and shops account for the bulk of LandSec’s portfolio.

“Construction continues at our committed development scheme at 21 Moorfields, EC2, and we are progressing the build-to-grade works at our other sites,” it added.

Net debt at the end of June was £3.92bn. the firm noted, compared with £3.93bn as at March 31, 2020, with £1.2bn of cash and available facilities.

Russ Mould, investment director at Aj Bell, added: "Notably 81% of rent from office tenants was paid within this window compared with only 29% of retail.

"This is still a much better income situation than the 16% tally announced by retail property specialist Hammerson earlier in the week.

“The confidence Land Securities has signalled by restarting dividends is also an indication that office assets might prove more durable than feared."

Mould added that the decision to restore the dividend in November gives some credence to the consensus analysts’ forecast that the REIT will pay out a dividend of 24.5p a share for the year to March 2021.

At the current share price of 584.6p, up 1.7%, that implies a dividend yield of 4.2%.


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Quick facts: Land Securities

Price: 597.8 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £4.44 billion

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