Town Centre Securities looks for the right acquisitions

PROPERTY group Town Centre Securities today declared it was financially “robust”, allowing it to look for property and car park acquisitions.

The Leeds-based property investment and development company saw only a slight fall in half year profits due to a rise in borrowing costs following its refinancing.

It has increased its occupancy levels to 97.9% and said its flagship Merrion Centre in the city was trading well with increased footfall and six new units due to be opened opposite the new Leeds Arena.

It is in leasing discussions with Leeds City Council for the Merrion House office block next to the centre which it plans to extend and reburbish.

The group said its Urban Exchange development at Piccadilly Basin in Manchester is now fully let and it is building its reputation as a retail and leisure destination.

Town Centre acquired properties in Park Row, Leeds and in Apperley Bridge between Leeds and Bradford, during the period.

Town Centre saw underlying pre-tax profits in the six months to December 31 come in at £3.8m compared to £4m last time while underlying earnings per share were 7.2p against 7.6p a year ago.

Net asset value per share fell to 286p from 305p. Gross borrowings increased to £153.4m from £142.5m due to £9.7m spent on acquisitions.

It is paying an unchanged interim dividend of 3.1p.

Chairman and chief executive Edward Ziff, said: “The increase in our borrowing costs, following refinancing at the end of 2011, resulted, as anticipated, in a slight fall in profits.  Importantly our underlying portfolio performance was in line with our expectations, despite difficult market conditions.
“We have operated in a market lacking consumer and general business confidence for a number of years and we do not expect that situation to change in the short term.  For the year as a whole, however, our outlook is unchanged.  We retain a robust financial position with the majority of our funding secured until 2031 and bank funding until 2015 and 2016.”