British Land has published its annual results, revealing an exceptionally good performance for the past financial year.
During the year to the 31st March 2015, British Land garnered a total accounting return of 24.5 per cent, a 4.5 per cent increase on the 20 per cent return recorded during the preceding year. This allowed profit before tax to rise to £313 million, climbing by 5.4 per cent year on year since the last annual statement.
The continuing improvement in the property market saw British Land let 2.4 million sq ft in the UK during the past year. Much of this was in the company’s retail portfolio which is now “virtually full” after seeing the largest growth in rents for seven years.
This performance narrowly exceeds that of the office portfolio, which has vacancy rate of just 2 per cent. The trophy Leadenhall Building in the City of London is now 84 per cent let, and setting new rental records as the top floors continue to fill up.
Chief executive Chris Grigg (pictured) believes the “exceptional” leasing performance and strength of the group’s day to day asset management activities have combined to deliver the strong results.
He says; “We are announcing a strong set of results today with the Group continuing to outperform on a range of measures.
“I am particularly pleased with our exceptional leasing activity over the year, which is the clearest indication we are creating environments where people want to work, shop and live.
“As we look ahead, our results give us confidence we are well positioned for changing trends in the real estate sector: we have a modern portfolio focused on the right locations; a strong balance sheet with a low cost of debt; and an exciting development programme.”
In the coming year, British Land’s primary focus will be to replenish supply within the retail and offices portfolio as a means of ensuring further strong growth during the next 12 months. A major part of this will concern the regeneration of Canada Waters in south east London following the acquisition of the Surrey Quays Leisure Park earlier this year for £135 million. The purchase means that British Land now owns the 7 million sq ft site in its entirety, paving the way for one of the “most significant” redevelopment projects in the pipeline for the capital.
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