British Land FY14 Profit Soars, Hikes Dividend

By RTT News, 
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(RTTNews.com) - British Land Co. Plc (BRLAF.PK, BTLCY.PK, BLND.L) reported Wednesday a surge in fiscal 2014 profit, boosted by higher earnings from investments in joint ventures and funds as well as significant net valuation increase. The UK-based real estate company also increased its dividend.

On IFRS basis, pre-tax profit for the year was 1.11 billion pounds, significantly higher than 260 million pounds in the previous year. Earnings per share was 110.2 pence, compared to 31.5 pence a year ago.

The latest results were benefited by 377 million pounds from investments in joint ventures and funds, compared to last year's 67 million pounds. In addition, profit was also boosted by the net valuation increase of 580 million pounds for the Group and 258 million pounds for the company's share of joint ventures and funds.

The company noted that underlying profit before tax, which excluded items, increased 8.4 percent to 297 million pounds from 274 million pounds last year. Underlying earnings per share, meanwhile, dropped 3 percent to 29.4 pence from prior year's 30.3 pence primarily as the result of the disposals made last year.

IFRS net assets were 7.12 billion pounds in the year, higher than last year's 5.69 billion pounds. EPRA net asset value or NAV per share grew 15.4 percent year-over-year to 688 pence.

Net rental income, including share of joint ventures and funds, increased to 562 million pounds from 541 million pounds last year. Net rental income increased 2.2 percent on a like-for-like basis.

The retail portfolio like-for-like growth was 3 percent, driven by asset management initiatives and letting of units which became void following prior year administrations, the company said.

Further, British Land said its quarterly dividend was increased to 6.75 pence per share in the year, bringing the total dividend declared for the current financial year to 27 pence per share, a growth of 2.3 percent.

Citing confidence in the coming year, the Board is proposing a quarterly dividend of 6.92 pence per share, or 27.68 pence per share for the full year, an increase of 2.5 percent.

Chief Executive Chris Grigg said, "We are well positioned to take advantage of London's continuing success and improving demand for the best retail space... We will continue to take advantage of market strength to sell more mature retail assets and we have a number of assets under offer or in the market... Overall, we have worked hard to position our business for growth and we look to the future with confidence."

In London, British Land shares are currently trading at 714.83 pence, down 0.17 pence or 0.02 percent.

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