Helical Bar plans developing spree

PROPERTY group Helical Bar yesterday said it had turned a corner as it revealed plans to begin a development spree, despite plunging further into the red for the full year.<br /><br />The firm said it had raised around &pound;500m to invest in retail projects and student accommodation developments, including &pound;26.4m of its own cash raised in a share placing at the beginning of the year and funding from an unnamed US private equity partner.<br /><br />&ldquo;At a time of such economic uncertainty it is always easy to see the downside risks but lose sight of the opportunities provided when assets are priced at cyclical lows,&rdquo; said chief executive Mike Slade. <br /><br />&ldquo;We have the firepower from the recent placing, the backing of our US partner and others and internally generated resources to take full advantage of the opportunities.&rdquo;<br /><br />Slade added that &ldquo;all the ingredients are coming into place for sustained recovery&rdquo; in the property market.<br /><br />Helical, a UK commercial property specialist, posted a full-year pre-tax loss of &pound;71.9m for 2008, three times more than a year ago, blaming substantial writedowns in the value of its properties. <br /><br />The value of its investment portfolio fell 21.3 per cent to &pound;241.3m over the year to March.<br /><br /><strong>MIKE SLADE<br /></strong><strong>CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF HELICAL BAR</strong><br />Slade, 61, originally joined the board of Helical Bar as an executive director in 1984, and has been chief executive since 1986.<br /><br />Married with three children, his great passion outside the world of property is for sailing. <br /><br />Slade has so far landed no less than twelve world records with his 100ft super maxi yacht, the ICAP Leopard &ndash; his last back in February, when he won the inaugural RORC Caribbean 600 race, completing the course in just over 44 hours.<br /><br />The victory came just a month after he set a new course record for the Heineken Cape to Bahia race, a 3,330 nautical mile trans-Atlantic race, by finishing in just 10 days, 5 hours and 46 minutes.<br />