Workspace plans Tower Bridge building as pre-tax profits soar

Kasmira Jefford
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WORKSPACE yesterday posted better-than-expected half year results, driven by strong tenant demand for its trendy London office space and its focus on asset management.

The company, which provides offices to some 4,000 businesses such as Moonpig, as well as the Metropolitan Police, became a stock market darling after posting stellar annual results in May and has since seen shares rally by 40 per cent.

Net asset value increased by 3.6 per cent to 319p a share in the six months to 30 September, driven by 2.2 per cent rise in the value of its portfolio to £718m. Pre-tax profits rose 46 per cent to £24.6m.

Like-for-like occupancy rose from 87.7 per cent to 88.8 per cent while its rent roll jumped by 3.1 per cent.

The London-focused company has been carrying out a major refurbishment programme to boost the value of its properties and currently has 14 projects underway or being designed, with two completed in the period. It launched a retail bond six weeks ago and raised £57m, which has helped fund these plans. Workspace also has 12 redevelopment projects where it is applying for planning permission and selling on land to residential housebuilders in return for new office space.

In October, it entered into an agreement with Taylor Wimpey to build a mixed-use development at its two-acre Grand Union Centre site in Ladbroke Grove, which will have 135 apartments and a 60,000 square feet business centre.

Chief executive Jamie Hopkins said he expects to be granted planning permission to build 800 flats near Tower Bridge in January next year. Overall, it is seeking planning consent for 2,325 residential units, which analysts at Peel Hunt estimate could give the group a £15m valuation uplift.