London drives prime results at Land Securities

COMMERCIAL property firm Land Securities yesterday posted a better than expected set of results, which chief executive Francis Salway credited to an improving London market and smart forward-planning.

The results, described as “blow-out” by one property analyst, saw Land Securitie’s pre-tax profit for the year to the end of March rise 14.8 per cent to £1.23bn.

The net asset value of the firm’s portfolio rose 18 per cent to 885p per share, on both rising property values and a 4.7 per cent rise in rents.

The firm has raised its final dividend from 7p to 7.2p.

Salway told City A.M.: “We don’t tend to go into comparisons, but we were careful to take measures to protect our balance sheet. We have got no pressure to buy or sell or get lettings, which means we can plan to get our timings right in the market.”

He added that Aon’s decision to go to rival British Land’s Cheesegrater tower was “an encouraging example of the demand out there in the market”. “We are very relaxed about it. [Land Securities’ Walkie Talkie tower] was always going to be a speculative build.”

Shares in Land Securities closed up 6.4 per cent at 795.5p.