Land Securities buoyed by rush for office space

Kasmira Jefford
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The Walkie Talkie is 90 per cent let
LAND Securities posted a better-than-expected leap in the value of its portfolio in the first half of the year, thanks to strong demand from companies keen to take up space in its buildings.

The FTSE 100 landlord behind the Walkie Talkie skyscraper in the City said like-for-like rents jumped 2.2 per cent in the six months to 30 September after a sharp 4.5 per cent rise in London offices.

The jump in rents helped lift its adjusted net asset value (Nav) – a key industry measure – by 11.5 per cent to 1,129p, beating analyst forecasts.

Its UK retail portfolio also surged higher, with like-for-like sales up 3.7 per cent, compared with the 0.9 per cent posted last year.

Land Securities is building seven schemes across London total­ling 1.4m square feet, all of which are due to complete over the next two years.

These in­clude its huge office development 1 & 2 New Ludgate in the City, which completes next year, and three buildings in Victoria, where the property giant is pushing ahead with a £2bn regeneration of the area.

It has also been on an acquisition spree of late, snapping up a £700m stake in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent in June and increasing its exposure to the more affluent south east.

“Our focus remains on the continued reshaping of the retail portfolio along with completion of our London development programme, and funding this activity by recycling capital,” chief executive Rob Noel said.

“Simply put, this ensures we have better assets, let on longer leases, with lower gearing, as we move through the cycle,” he added.

Noel said that work on the Walkie Talkie roof garden and the so-called brise soleil system to prevent its windows reflect dazzling rays will be completed within weeks.

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