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British Land AGM update
17 July 2018
We have made an active start to the year. Along with our joint venture partner, we completed on the sale of 5 Broadgate for £1 billion, in line with book value and commenced a £200 million extension to our share buyback programme, reflecting our continued commitment to effective capital management and our focus on shareholder returns. Our financial position remains strong, we have further reduced LTV to 26% while continuing to progress the attractive opportunities we have created across our development pipeline, focused on enhancing our central London campuses.
Leasing activity in Offices has continued to be good, our portfolio is 98% occupied and 64% of our total development pipeline is now let or under offer, up from 55% at the time of our Preliminary results in May. This is a clear endorsement of the quality space we are delivering and the attractiveness of our campuses to a range of occupiers.
Our pre-letting success, along with the fact that the vast majority of development costs to come are covered by residential sales receipts is key to our approach. It reduces the risks associated with development, meaning our speculative exposure remains low at 4.4%.
In line with the strategic priorities we outlined in May, we are progressing the roll out of Storey, our flexible workspace business. Storey is already operational across all our central London campuses and last month we exchanged on a standalone building in Haggerston, north of Shoreditch. We will take ownership of the building when it completes later this year to house Storey across 41,500 sq ft in this exciting part of London.
As we communicated at our Preliminary results in May, the retail market remains challenging. The impact of long term structural change driven by the internet is being compounded by short term trading headwinds. As a result, there have been well publicised retailer failures and further CVA's from those operators with more challenged business models.
Across our portfolio, the combined impact of administrations and CVAs since 1 April 2017 is 1.6% of total group contracted rent, up from 1% at the time of our Preliminary Results in May and accordingly Retail occupancy now stands at 96.4%. We are seeing increased polarisation but continue to believe that British Land assets are on the right side of this trend. Since the year end, we have let 128,000 sq ft of retail space and placed a further 97,000 sq ft under offer, overall 6.0% ahead of ERV.
The first interim dividend payment for the quarter ended 30 June 2018 will be 7.75 pence per share, an increase of 3.0% on the first interim dividend last year. Payment will be made on 9 November 2018 to shareholders on the register at close of business on 5 October 2018. The dividend will be a Property Income Distribution and no SCRIP alternative will be offered.
David Walker, British Land 020 7467 3418
Cressida Curtis, British Land 020 7467 2938
Guy Lamming & Gordon Simpson, Finsbury 020 7251 3801
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