Land Securities share price: REIT reports robust Q3 activity
iNVEZZ.com, Wednesday, January 22: Land Securities Group (LON:LAND), the UK’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT), had made “good progress” on developments and seen improved occupancy across its property portfolio in the third quarter, the group’s trading update revealed today.
Land Securities said that it had signed £7.3 million of development letting since October 1, with a further £7.9 million in solicitors’ hands. The commercial property developer’s retail portfolio saw a 3.9 percent increase in sales compared to a year earlier.
Like-for-like voids — a measure of unoccupied space — were down from two percent on September 30 to 1.8 percent on December 31. The overall occupancy rate for its retail portfolio grew from 97.8 percent to 98.3 percent in the three-month period. The developer noted that 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London, which has been nicknamed the “Walkie-Talkie” tower because of its shape, is now 64 percent pre-let with a further 23 percent in solicitors’ hands. The office floors of the 37-storey skyscraper are due to be handed over to tenants in April.
Land Securities CEO Robert Noel commented on the Q3 real estate market backdrop: “In retail, there is continued demand for good locations as evidenced by the increased occupancy levels in our properties and, in particular, there is strong demand in food and beverage. In central London, we have seen occupier demand increase further. This, combined with a constrained supply of high quality, technically resilient space, means our significant committed programme of speculative developments is well placed.”
The REIT announced the start of two new central London developments worth £243 million. The properties are located at 1 New Street Square, EC4 and 20 Eastbourne Terrace, W2.
At the end of the third quarter net debt fell to £4.02 billion from £4.42 billion in Q2. The REIT will pay a third interim dividend of 7.6p, up from 7.4 pence a year earlier.
***Land Securities share price steady***
The upbeat trading update has failed to impress investors so far today. After opening slightly down, as of 09:27 UTC, Land Securities’ share price stood at 1,045.00p, unchanged from its previous session’s closing level.
Yesterday, Land Securities’ stock had its ‘neutral’ rating restated by analysts at HSBC, while on Monday, BNP Paribas reiterated its ‘outperform’ rating. Last week, analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their price target on shares of Land Securities from 1,040p to 1,100p. Separately, Jefferies Group upgraded the shares to a ‘buy’ rating.
According to AnalystRatingsNetwork data, four research analysts have a ‘sell’ rating on Land Securities, eight have it as a ‘hold’ and nine call it a ‘buy’. The stock’s average rating is ‘hold’ with a consensus price target of 982.64p.
**As of 09:13 UTC, buy Land Securities shares at 1,046.00p.**
**As of 09:13 UTC, sell Land Securities shares at 1,045.00p.**
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