Landsec's property portfolio falls by £1.2bn

The Coronavirus crisis has helped reduce the value of Land Securities Group's (Landsec) property portfolio by nine per cent, or £1.18 billion, to £12.8 billion during the year to 31 March.

The shopping centre owner, which manages Bluewater in Kent and Trinity Leeds, reported losses before tax up to £837 million from £123 million in 2018/19.

With retail units already falling empty before the lockdown, Landsec’s rent intake fell to 63 per cent in March and early April, compared with 94 per cent a year earlier. Like-for-like net rental income across retail was down 3.9 per cent to £10 million.

Chief executive Mark Allen, who was appointed to the group in November, said he has joined at “an extraordinary time”, commenting: “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 explained that the company's £80 million rent relief fund has offered targeted support to occupiers, alongside broader options of rent deferrals and monthly payments, while £500,000 of community grants has provided financial assistance to 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," Allen added.

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