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British Land losses top £1bn for second year

The FTSE 100 business is regrouping around retail parks and campuses

British Land -
“We have been further encouraged by how strongly footfall and sales have rebounded in recent weeks.”

British Land PLC (LON:BLND) posted a loss of more than £1bn for a second year running as it took another hefty write-down on its property portfolio.

The FTSE 100 property group saw the value of its portfolio drop by 10.8% over the year to end-March, 2021, led by a 25% drop in retail though the rate of decline has slowed in retail parks.

British Land is regrouping its business around retail parks and also campuses, which includes Broadgate in the City and Canada Water in Canary Wharf.

Underlining the importance of these, contracts for the first phase of the masterplan development at Canada Water will be placed in the coming months British Land said, adding it remains committed to 882,000sq ft of development at 1 Broadgate and Norton Folgate.

“Our new strategy exploits our competitive strengths in development, active management and repositioning assets and sees us invest behind two key themes, Campuses and Retail & Fulfilment,” said Simon Carter, chief executive. 

“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." 

Losses for the year were £1.05bn (£1.11bn) after an £888mln (£1.1bn) write-down, while rental income from tenants fell to £320mln from £415mln a year earlier. NAV per share dropped to 648p from 773p.

The dividend for the year is 15.04p, down from 15.97p and in line with a new policy to pay out 80% of underlying earnings.

Carter added: "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 been further encouraged by how strongly footfall and sales have rebounded in recent weeks.”

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