Helical says profits will double in 2011 and 2012

COMMERCIAL property company Helical Bar expects to double its after-tax profit in both 2011 and 2012 and anticipates spending £150m on acquisitions next year.

Chief executive Michael Slade said yesterday he expected Helical, which posted an after-tax profit of £9.6m for the year to the end of March, to earn £20m or more after tax in 2011 and at least £40m in 2012.

“Our target is to increase investment income... because we’ve had it diminished,” Slade said. “I can look back and say we had a good recession relative [to peers] and we’ve got a fantastic future now.”

Helical, which traces its roots to an engineering company founded in 1919, has projects ranging from development of a headquarters for hedge fund manager Man Group in the City of London to retail units in Poland.

Slade said the increased profit would mostly be derived from Helical’s developed trading portfolio, which was about half of its whole portfolio.

The £150m for acquisitions would include 60 to 70 per cent of debt. Overall, Helical’s net borrowing in relation to its property portfolio value was 46 per cent and Slade said he expected that level to remain broadly flat.

Net gearing was 84 per cent at the end of March, compared with 95 per cent a year earlier.