Property firm to tackle economic challenges from position of strength

Land Securities (Landsec), the listed property company which owns and operates both the Trinity Shopping Centre and White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds, has stated it will face the economic challenges ahead “from a position of strength”.

Commenting on the firm’s annual results to March 2020, which saw revenue fall, new chief executive Mark Allan said: ” We have a strong balance sheet, a portfolio of properties that are amongst the highest quality for the sectors in which we operate and a team of talented, dedicated people across the business.”

However, Allan – who joined the business on 14 April – admitted that the above was not enough alone to weather the current economic storm. Stating that in order to make the most of the business’ potential it would also need “bold, ambitious thinking and a willingness to adopt new and creative approaches”.

Land Securities recorded a loss before tax of £837m for the year and saw revenues fall by 6.3% to £414m.

Commenting on the loss Allan said the it was the result of a fall in asset value by £1.179 billion. Attributing the majority of this to a fall in its retail asset value by over a fifth as a result of a challenging landscape which was “exacerbated at the year end by the early effects of Covid-19.”

Away from retail the coronavirus is also impacting the firm, with it reporting less than 10% usage of its office space as a result of the current crisis.

Despite this the firm remains confident and is focusing on preserving balance sheet capacity and flexibility in order to “weather a prolonged downturn but also so that we are well placed to capitalise on any opportunities that emerge over time.”

Looking ahead, Allan says the focus will be on dealing with the consequences of the current crisis. For Landsec and Allan that means ensuring the businesses “emerges from Covid-19 in as strong a position as possible” but also looking at the long-term strategic direction of the business.