// Landsec takes a £1.18bn hit to its property portfolio
// The shopping centre group owns Bluewater and Trinity Leeds shopping malls
// Landsec has lost over 20% of its value
Landsec has taken a near £1.2 billion hit to its property portfolio during the coronavirus lockdown and has prepared for more empty units at its shopping centres.
The shopping centre owner, which manages Bluewater in Kent and Trinity Leeds shopping malls, said the value of its property portfolio had dropped by nine per cent – around £1.18 billion- to £12.8 billion in the year to March 31.
The company’s retail portfolio lost over 20 per cent of its value, with regional assets worst affected since the pandemic struck the UK.
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The Westgate Oxford mall was down 28 per cent during the period.
Consequently, Landsec’s losses deepened, with its losses before tax rising to £837 million compared to a loss of £123 million in 2018/19.
Across the group, Landsec’s rent intake fell to 63 per cent in March and early April, compared with 94 per cent a year earlier.
The group now expects rent collection rates to worsen in June.
Meanwhile, like-for-like net rental income across retail was down 3.9 per cent to £10 million.
Landsec chief executive Mark Allen, who was appointed to the group in November, said he has joined at “an extraordinary time”.
“The effects of Covid-19 are accelerating ongoing structural trends across the real estate sector, while its longer-term societal and economic consequences are yet to be determined.” he said.
“Landsec’s strong balance sheet and resilient operational performance have enabled us to respond to immediate challenges posed by Covid-19 with speed and decisiveness.
“Our £80 million rent relief fund has offered targeted support to occupiers, alongside broader options of rent deferrals and monthly payments, and our £500,000 of community grants is providing financial assistance to our charity partners.
“We are prepared to be bold in our thinking as we navigate both the challenges and opportunities arising in the long term from changing market trends and will not lose sight of our wider sustainability objectives.”