LAND SECURITIES, the UK’s biggest real estate investment trust, said turmoil in the Eurozone was continuing to dampen demand for office space in central London as it reported a fall in full-year profits.
Rob Noel, who replaced Francis Salway as chief executive at the beginning of May, said uncertainty in Europe had “weighed heavily on business confidence” meaning firms were reluctant to move.
Land Securities, which is co-building the Walkie Talkie skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch street, is understood to be close to signing its first two tenants, insurers Markel and Kiln.
Noel said eight per cent of the building was now in solicitors’ hands and it was aiming to pre-let 200,000 sq ft of the tower during the year.
In the year to March 2012, the developer saw pre-tax profits fall 58 per cent to £515.7m compared with £1,227.3m the previous year while net asset value – a key industry measure of performance – rose 4.5 per cent to 863p a share.
The value of the company’s portfolio increased two per cent to £10.3bn, with London offices and retail performing the strongest.
But its shopping centre portfolio struggled, as values dropped 1.5 per cent and rents declined by 1.8 per due to ailing retailers going into administration.