British Land posts first annual profit since 2018 amid recovery in occupancy
British Land has posted its first annual profit after three consecutive years of losses, following a recovery in occupancy at its office and retail spaces with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
The FTSE 100 group swung from a pre-tax loss of £1.1 billion last year to a pre-tax profit of £960 million for the 12 months ending 31 March 2022, with people gradually return to cities and workplaces.
British Land's £2.2 billion capital activity includes £694 million from the sale of 75% of majority of assets at Paddington Central to GIC and £290 million from the sale of 50% of its share in the Canada Water Masterplan to AustralianSuper.
The company also reported that its portfolio value increased in value by 6.8% to £10.46 billion with retail parks up 20.7%, following a £350 million investments in retail parks, which includes Crown Wharf in Walsall and Queens in Stafford.
Simon Carter, CEO of British Land said: "Over the past year we have delivered a strong performance across all parts of our business as we continue to execute against our strategy. Our total accounting return for the year was 14.8% driven by a 6.8% increase in the valuation of our portfolio and Underlying Profit is up 24.9%. Our balance sheet remains strong with pro forma loan to value of 28.4%.
"Operationally, our leasing volumes across Campuses and Retail & Fulfilment were the highest in ten years and were ahead of ERV. In London, demand continues to gravitate towards the best, most sustainable space where our Campuses are at a distinct advantage. Retail Parks are an attractive, cost-effective format for our retail customers reflected in our very low vacancy of 2.6%, so we are particularly pleased with our decision to allocate capital to this segment, where valuations have increased 20.7%.
"The fundamentals of Urban Logistics in London are compelling given the chronic shortage of space. We have made a good start to building our Urban Logistics business where we have assembled a c.£1.3bn development pipeline in 12 months."