Land Securities kick-starts City building boom

BRITAIN’S biggest property company Land Securities has unveiled a massive City of London development push after predicting a run on office space.

The company said it was in talks to build a skyscraper popularly known as the "Walkie Talkie" on Fenchurch Street (pictured) as a shortage in prime City offices loomed.

Chief Executive Francis Salway said: “We are confident in our ability to deliver a substantial development pipeline into a supply constrained market in London, while maintaining a strong focus on growing revenue profit across the group.

“We have an unrivalled pipeline of potential projects in our London portfolio, with over 110,000 square metres of developments already underway and up to a further 400,000 square metres of development and refurbishment opportunities.”

Land Securities laid out the ambitious strategy after posting a 16.5 per cent rise in adjusted diluted net asset value to 691 pence a share, for the year to March 31, in line with analyst expectations following the end of a slump last August.

The value of its portfolio rose 10.3 per cent to £9.5bn. Net rental income slipped 12.1 per cent to £567m over the period, mainly due to asset sales.

It recommended a full-year dividend of 28 pence, in line with guidance.

The optimistic development plans run against a tide of worry for the strength of the recovery in
UK real estate values, after month-on-month price growth halved to 0.8 per cent in April.