Capital Shopping Centres spree helps boost profits

Kasmira Jefford
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CAPITAL Shopping Centres (CSC), the UK’s biggest shopping mall owner, said its half-year profits rose by 53 per cent, buoyed by the £1.6bn acquisition of Manchester’s Trafford Centre in January.

Footfall across its 14 shopping centres increased by three per cent while net rental income rose by six per cent year-on-year, thanks to an increase in lettings in 2010.

Chief executive David Fischel said outlets that offer catering and leisure facilities “continued to outperform”, despite the tough conditions on the UK high street.

Occupancy remained high at 97 per cent but fell slightly year-on-year due to an increase in retail bankruptcies brought on by tight consumer spending.

The group disappointed the market with a meagre 1p increase in adjusted net asset value per share to 391p at the end of June, trailing behind its sector rivals Hammerson and Land Securities.

“We see little near term recovery in consumer confidence and hence meaningful growth in income”, Evolution Securities analyst Alan Carter said in a note. “The other leaders all offer better value and likely share price performance.”

Earnings were up by 14 per cent to 8p per share compared with 7p the previous year. The group maintained its dividend at 5p.

CSC, with a total asset value of £6.9bn, changed its name last year from Liberty International, after demerging its central London activities into a newly listed company, Capital & Counties Properties.

Shares in CSC closed down 0.9 per cent at 369.8p yesterday.