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British Land Co PLC  -  BLND   

AGM statement & £300m share buyback programme

Released 07:00 18-Jul-2017

RNS Number : 3099L
British Land Co PLC
18 July 2017
 

British Land AGM statement and announcement of £300 million share buy-back programme

18 July 2017

 

Against a backdrop of continuing strong demand in its investment markets, British Land announces that it intends to allocate up to £300 million of capital to a share buy-back during the current financial year.

 

The Board regularly reviews capital allocation to optimise long-term returns for shareholders. Since the year end, the Company has continued to sell into a strong investment market. However, currently, opportunities to purchase at attractive returns are more limited, and investment in the Company's shares at the prevailing discount offers better value than further asset acquisitions.

 

Since the start of the financial year, the Company has achieved good disposal and leasing progress and continued to develop the pipeline of development opportunities that it has already created. At the AGM today, the following overview of recent activity will be provided:

 

·      Since the Full Year Results announcement in May, the sale of The Leadenhall Building for £575 million (BL share) has been completed, £135 million assets have been sold and a further £88 million are under offer

·      In total, 370,000 sq ft of lettings and renewals were made during the first quarter at 7.8% ahead of ERV

·      A further 870,000 sq ft of space is under offer or in advanced negotiations across British Land's three London campuses

·      This space under offer includes all 310,000 sq ft of office space at 1 Triton Square, Regent's Place, the plans for which have now been approved by the Mayor. The Company expects to commit to this £200 million development in the next few weeks

·      At 1 Finsbury Avenue, part of the Broadgate Campus, work will start on the £35 million (BL share) refurbishment next month, adding retail, a new cinema and roof terrace to the building. Exclusive discussions regarding 78,000 sq ft of this improved space, representing 27% of the total available, are underway with technology company, Mimecast

·      As part of the first-phase roll out of Storey, the flexible workspace brand, the lease of 25,000 sq ft of space at 2 Finsbury Avenue has been agreed with Kingfisher Digital

 

Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, will state: "This rolling buy-back programme reflects our commitment to seeking the best long-term returns for shareholders.

 

"We continue to see strong demand in the investment market, which makes opportunities to acquire new standing assets, at attractive returns, more limited than usual. With our shares trading at a substantial discount to NAV and providing a 5% dividend yield, allocating capital into a share buy-back represents a clear value opportunity.

 

"With substantial proceeds being realised from our disposals programme, we do not expect any material change in our loan to value ratio as a result of the share buy-back. We retain significant resources to develop the pipeline of development opportunities we have created and the flexibility to respond to any changes in market conditions."

 

Dividend:

 

As announced at the Full Year Results, the first interim dividend payment for the quarter ended 30 June 2017 will be 7.52 pence per share, a 3.0% increase on the comparable period last year. The first interim dividend will be paid on 10 November 2017 to shareholders on the register at close of business on 6 October 2017 and will be a Property Income Distribution. The Company will not be offering a SCRIP alternative with this dividend.

 

Other information:

 

A further announcement containing more detailed information regarding the share buy-back will be released in due course, before the start of any dealing under the share buy-back program. 

 

Enquiries:

 

Investor Relations

 

 

Cressida Curtis, British Land

020 7467 2938

 

 

Media

 

Pip Wood, British Land 

020 7467 2838

Guy Lamming, Finsbury

020 7251 3801

Gordon Simpson, Finsbury

020 7251 3801

 

Notes to Editors

 

About British Land

Our portfolio of high quality UK commercial property is focused on Retail around the UK and London Offices. We own or manage a portfolio valued at £19.1 billion (British Land share: £13.9 billion) as at 31 March 2017 making us one of Europe's largest listed real estate investment companies.

 

Our strategy is to provide places which meet the needs of our customers and respond to changing lifestyles - Places People Prefer. We do this by creating great environments both inside and outside our buildings and use our scale and placemaking skills to enhance and enliven them. This expands their appeal to a broader range of occupiers, creating enduring demand and driving sustainable, long term performance.

 

Our Retail portfolio is focused on Regional and Local multi-let centres, and accounts for 48% of our portfolio. Our Offices portfolio comprises three office-led campuses in central London as well as high quality standalone buildings and accounts for 49% of our portfolio. Increasingly our focus is on providing a mix of uses and this is most evident at Canada Water, our 46 acre redevelopment opportunity where we have plans to create a new neighbourhood for London.

 

Sustainability is embedded throughout our business. Our places, which are designed to meet high sustainability standards, become part of local communities, provide opportunities for skills development and employment and promote wellbeing. Our industry-leading sustainability performance led to British Land being named a European Sector Leader in the 2016 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for the third year running.

 

In April 2016 British Land received the Queen's Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development, the UK's highest accolade for business success for economic, social and environmental achievements over a period of five years.

 

Further details can be found on the British Land website at www.britishland.com.


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AGM statement & £300m share buyback programme - RNS