Land Securities Share Price Wobbling After Q1 Trading Update
iNVEZZ.com Wednesday, July 17th: Britain’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT) and listed property developer Land Securities (LON:LAND) today issued an interim management statement for the first quarter of its financial year starting April 1, 2013. The REIT’s share price has been wobbling this morning on the London Stock Exchange following the release of the trading update.
**Retail Market Challenging But London Property Demand on the Up**
Land Securities’ sales rose 2.5 percent in three months to June 30 compared to last year, the REIT said. Property vacancies were little changed at two percent. In total, the company completed £5.5 million of development lettings in the period with another £12.3 million in solicitors’ hands. Stores with tenants in administration accounted for 1.2 percent of the total, compared to 1.3 percent in the previous quarter. Retail properties were 97.2 percent leased, little changed from the previous quarter, while the number of visitors to the company’s malls fell 2.9 percent from a year earlier.
Commenting on the performance of the company’s retail portfolio, Land Securities’ Chief Executive Officer Robert Noel said: “The retail market remains challenging but we are maintaining very high levels of occupancy in our centres and are pleased with our increased exposure to leisure.”
The London-based company was upbeat regarding the prospects of the real estate market in the capital. CEO Noel said: “In London, demand is increasing and we remain confident that our portfolio is well positioned and our developments well timed.”
**Walkie-Talkie Tower 52% Pre-Let**
Highlighting this upbeat view on the London property market, Land Securities’ said that interest in the 20 Fenchurch Street development, known informally as the Walkie Talkie tower, as well as other developments in the UK capital, has increased.
The Walkie Talkie skyscraper in London’s financial district now has pre-letting deals for more than half its space. The 36-storey office building, which Land Securities is developing in partnership with Canary Wharf Group with completion scheduled for 2014, is now 52-percent pre-let with another four percent in solicitors’ hands.
!m[Britain’s Largest REIT Pre-Lets More Than Half Its Walkie Talkie Tower](/uploads/story/4060/thumbs/pic_1_inline.jpg)
Land Securities has also begun work on two other central London development projects worth more than £1 billion. Last month, construction commenced on 1 & 2 Ludgate, a 379,000 square feet development, with £260 million committed to the project, while in the West End, work has started on the REIT’s £768 million project in Victoria.
**Land Securities Share Price Wavering**
The Land Securities share price was slightly up at 973p as of 09:02 BST today before shedding 0.83 percent to 961.45p later in the morning session. Shares in Land Securities gained over six percent in the first quarter of the REIT’s financial year. Since the start of 2013, the price has risen by more than 18 percent.