British Land's stock climbs on upbeat property leasing report

 
Helen Cahill
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British Land sold its 50 per cent stake in the Cheesegrater this year (Source: Getty)

British Land's shares climbed today after the property giant gave an upbeat report on its leasing.

The figures

Underlying profit fell 0.5 per cent from £199m to £198m. The value of the company's property portfolio fell from £13.9bn to £13.5bn, and the firm leased 1.3m square feet (sq ft) of space, up from 769,000 sq ft.

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Net asset value per share increased 2.6 per cent from to 939p, and the company increased its interim dividend by three per cent.

At time of writing, British Land's share price was up four per cent at 619p.

Why it's interesting

Today, British Land said it had made its largest pre-let of office space in the West End for more than 20 years with 1 Triton Square, an office redevelopment in Regent's Place. It has extended the amount of space it will develop to a total of 1.5m sq ft due to the success of its leasing so far. The progress on 1 Triton Square comes after British Land sold its 50 per cent stake in the Cheesegrater to Chinese buyers for £575m.

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Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell Investment, said that British Land's results would suggest that the UK property market was in "rude health". However, the company's shares are ten per cent down on their high in 2017.

"This suggests investors are taking a dim view of the UK's economic prospects in a post-Brexit world, but note that the shares were peaking in 2015, some 40 per cent above where they are now, well before the referendum vote," he said.

What British Land says

Chris Grigg, chief executive of British Land, said: "Our strategic focus on creating outstanding environments is driving healthy demand for our space in a market that continues to polarise. Leasing activity was strong at good pricing, in spite of external uncertainty, and we secured the largest West End office pre-let in 22 years at 1 Triton Square.

"We have deliberately created a portfolio consisting of the high-quality assets and development opportunities required to succeed in today's environment."

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