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British Land: Shift away from shopping centres helps deliver full year growth

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British Land is developing the Broadgate estate

British Land said its strategy of shifting its focus away from assets such as shopping centres is “delivering”, as it posted modest growth in its full year results.

On Wednesday, the FTSE 250 firm said underlying profit grew by two per cent to £268m in the year ending 31 March.

Portfolio occupancy remained strong sitting at 97 per cent and the firm leased 3.3m sq ft, which was 15.1 per cent ahead of estimated rental value (ERV). 

The company reported a EPRA net tangible assets per share of 562p at the end of the period, down 4.4 per cent year-on-year. It’s loan-to-value ratio at the end of the year was 37.3 per cent.

It announced a dividend for the year of 22.8p, up one per cent.

Earlier this week, the company sold its 50 per cent stake in Meadowhall Shopping Centre to its partner, the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, for £360m. The deal is expected to complete this July. 

The transaction has valued the entirety of the Sheffield shopping centre at £734m, three per cent above its September 2023 book value.

It comes off the back of the firm selling half of its stake in the Eutson office building which was formerly home to Facebook owner Meta.

In March, British Land sold its 50 per cent stake in 1 Triton Square, in London’s Regent’s Place, to Royal London Asset Management Property for £192.5m. 

Simon Carter, chief of British Land, said: “Our strategy of focusing on campuses, retail parks and London urban logistics is delivering.

“ERV growth accelerated to 5.9 per cent, exceeding our guidance in all sectors. We outperformed the MSCI benchmark by 300 basis points and values were stable in the second half. Our operational momentum continues with high occupancy, strong leasing and good cost discipline driving Underlying Profit growth of two per cent.”

He added: “We have achieved much this year – the surrender and joint venture of 1 Triton Square, the commitment to 2 Finsbury Avenue following the record breaking pre-let to Citadel, and the sale of Meadowhall are all good examples of our active approach to capital recycling. As a result, 93 per cent of our portfolio is now in our chosen markets.”

For the year ahead, the company expects ERV guidance of between 3-5 per cent growth in each of its markets.

Analysts at Peel Hunt rated the stock a ‘Buy’.

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