views

Grosvenor hit by £500m fall in its portfolio

THE value of the Duke of Westminster’s property portfolio slumped by £500m last year, following plummeting housing prices during the recession.

His property group, Grosvenor, which is renowned for its ownership of palatial properties in Belgravia and Mayfair, saw the value of its estate tumble to £5.22bn from £6.17bn in 2008.

The group reported a reduced loss of £235.8m last year compared with £593.9m in 2008. Mark Preston, Grosvenor chief executive said the results were to be expected after the calamitous performance of the property markets in Europe and the Americas over the past couple of years.

The aristocratic dynasty, which has survived 20 recessions through the years, will now look to Asia for future growth. The company is believed to be plotting an investment drive in the region over the course of 2010.

Preston said: “Strategic priorities for the future are to invest more in Asia, reinvest in our core London holdings, and work with the growing pool of international capital seeking a home in property via our fund management business.”

He added: “We do not expect 2010 to be an easy year but our business is in good shape and we are confident about the future.”

The value of total assets, including those managed on behalf of third party investors, fell by 18 per cent to £10.2bn. Shareholders’ equity dropped to £2.4bn in 2009.

FAST FACTS | GROSVENOR

• Grosvenor has developers, investors and fund managers in several sectors, including residential, retail, office and industrial property.
• Grosvenor’s experience in residential property stretches back more than three centuries.

EDWARD ARKUS
HAWKPOINT

HAWKPOINT, an independent corporate finance firm, is acting as Rugby Real Estates Investment Trust’s financial adviser, with Edward Arkus as director of proceedings.

Arkus recently advised for Legal and General Ventures on the Integrated Dental Holdings sale to Merril Lynch for £291m in 2008. He also advised on the £100m sale of Gaucho Grill to ICG.

Arkus has spent 12 years at Hawkpoint, a firm he joined as a graduate, and is now a director in the corporate advisory and private equity division. He graduated from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology with a degree in International Management and American Business Studies.

Arkus said today’s offer for Rugby Real Estates Investment Trust was a good result for shareholders. The offer values the Trust at 68p per share, a 65 per cent increase on the offer from Laxey Partner’s, which Hawkpoint successfully defended last year.