Land Securities posts £95m pre-tax loss but hikes dividend by almost 10 per cent

 
Caitlin Morrison
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The Walkie Talkie on Fenchurch Street is part of Land Securities' London portfolio (Source: Getty)

Property developer Land Securities swung to a loss in the first half of 2016 - but the group still hiked its dividend by almost 10 per cent.

The figures

The company reported a £95m loss in the six months to 30 September, from a pre-tax profit of £707.9m in the first half of last year.

Land Securities also recorded a loss per share of 12.1p, down from earnings of 89.7p in 2015.

The firm said revenue profit went up 4.5 per cent to £192.5m, from £184.2m.

The company hiked its dividend 9.8 per cent to 17.9p from 16.3p.

Shares in the group rose 4.4 per cent at the open.

Why it's interesting

Land Securities had previously warned that demand for commercial property was at risk of declining as a result of uncertainty around the UK's Brexit deal. Last year, its profits were almost halved due to volatile markets in the run up to the EU referendum, and today the group said the lack of clarity around the government's plans for exiting the bloc was "having a tangible effect on the commercial property market".

However, the company maintained a positive outlook and said that, while it does expect to see "a general weakening of net effective rental values as a result of current uncertainty", its high quality portfolio should mean Land Securities remains "relatively insulated".

"Also, uncertainty usually presents opportunities and we are ready to act," added the firm's chief exec, Robert Noel.

What Land Securities said

"Land Securities has produced a resilient performance against the backdrop of current market uncertainty thanks to the actions we've taken to transform our portfolio and reduce gearing over the last few years," said Noel.

"We've followed a clear strategy to transform the quality of our business. And now, with historically low levels of speculative development and conservative financial gearing, we're well-placed to take advantage of any opportunities that may lie ahead."

In short

Despite posting a £95m loss, Land Securities is pretty chipper about the future, which seems to have rubbed off on shareholders.

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