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Bidders circle British Land's Broadgate

BRITISH Land yesterday revealed it had been approached by several buyers interested in snapping up a 50 per cent stake in Broadgate, its iconic City development.<br /><br />US private equity group Blackstone has been tipped to beat rivals to a share of the 16 office buildings close to Liverpool Street Station.<br /><br />Yesterday finance director Graham Roberts said, &ldquo;we have received offers for assets within our portfolio&rdquo; but refused to be drawn further.<br /><br />The group said that it was open to &ldquo;bids at the right price, which would offer value to our shareholders.&rdquo;<br /><br />The news comes as British Land said it had minimised losses and maintained the value of over a third of its properties during the first quarter, adding its voice to optimistic murmurings in the sector.<br /><br />British Land yesterday posted a pre-tax loss of &pound;275m for the three months to 30 June, down from &pound;987m in the last quarter and a &pound;572m loss in the same period last year. The property firm said that 39 per cent of its assets, which are worth around &pound;3.9bn, had either increased in value or stayed flat since March 2009.<br /><br />As a result, British Land reported a smaller than expected nine per cent fall in net asset value to 361p a share.<br /><br />Chairman Chris Gibson-Smith said: &ldquo;These results demonstrate that British Land remains in a relatively strong position with resilient income from a well-let, prime portfolio. Our financial flexibility and scale give us competitive advantage to capitalise on opportunities.&rdquo;<br /><br />But despite hopes of stability, the group said it had no &ldquo;short term plans&rdquo; to start work on its halted &ldquo;Cheesegrater&rdquo; City development. Finance director Graham Roberts said: &ldquo;At the moment the economics don&rsquo;t work.&rdquo;<br /><br />In May the group secured Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi as a tenant for 30 per cent of its Ropemaker development.