// Shaftesbury posts £699m loss, compared to £26m profit last year
// The Covid-19 pandemic & the restrictions that it prompted battered rental income & property values
// Shaftesbury said £698.5m was wiped off the value of its estate, taking its value down 18.3% to £3.1bn by September
Shaftesbury has plummeted to a full-year loss of £699 million after the Covid-19 pandemic battered rental income and caused property values to plunge.
Shares in the West End property giant – whose portfolio consists if retail premises across London’s Carnaby Street, Chinatown and Seven Dials precincts – slipped after it swung to the pre-tax loss for the 12 months to September, following a £26 million profit last year.
Shaftesbury said the loss was driven by a dive in the value of its property estate, which is highly exposed to retail and hospitality sectors which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
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It said £698.5 million was wiped off the value of its estate, taking its value down 18.3 per cent to £3.1 billion by September.
Shaftesbury added that rental income slumped by 24.2 per cent to £74.3 million for the period.
Footfall in central London has been significantly weaker this year due to travel restrictions, the enforced closure of shops and venues through lockdowns, and guidance for workers to stay at home.
The update comes a day after the UK Government confirmed that London would move into Tier 3 from tomorrow, which will see restaurants, pubs and other leisure and hospitality venues to shut their doors to customers. Retailers – both essential and non-essential – can remain open.
“Rarely in history has the world seen such widespread disruption to normal patterns of life,” Shaftesbury chief executive Brian Bickell said.
“Only now are we seeing the first positive signs that conditions will begin to improve in the year ahead.
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on our performance, particularly during the second half of the financial year, depriving our hospitality and retail occupiers of footfall and trade and resulting in reduced rent collections, increased vacancy, reduced occupier demand and a fall in property valuations.
“Our key priority has been, and continues to be, supporting our occupiers through this period of disruption.”
Shares in Shaftesbury were 3.7 per cent lower at 528.5p in early trading this morning.
with PA Wires