News Column

Quintain Estates Looks To Buy In London As It Swings To Profit

May 23, 2014

Anthony Tshibangu

LONDON (Alliance News) - London-focused property investors Quintain Estates & Development PLC Friday said it swung to profit in its recent full year, after its results in the previous period were hit by valuation losses.

The company, which recently sold its stake in student accommodation scheme iQ for GBP106.4 million, posted pretax profit of GBP4.7 million for the year ended March 31, compared with a GBP49.3 million loss a year earlier. Quintain benefited from a GBP22.4 million revaluation gain on investment properties compared with a GBP23.0 million deficit a year earlier.

Revenue, however, dipped to GBP32.6 million from GBP39.5 million in the corresponding period, reflecting a change in vacancy level.

Quintain said its net asset value per grew 11% to 115 pence from 104 pence. This growth came from both Greenwich Peninsula, where Quintain "crystallised the value" created over the previous 18 months at a profit of GBP30.7 million, and Wembley Park, where the firm is now bringing new homes to market, following the completion of the commercial district earlier in the period.

The company said the operational highlight of the year was the opening of its shopping centre near Wembley football stadium in October. The shopping site, which is let to a number of retailers including LK Bennett, is now almost 90% occupied and has welcomed 2.5 million visitors thus far.

In February, Quintain secured planning permission for 475 apartments near the Wembley site. The company hopes the residential scheme will drive growth across the business.

"Supported by the opening of the London Designer Outlet, the sale of new homes at Wembley Park began in March, and the first release of 73 apartments has been sold at an average price of GBP570 per square foot," Chief Executive Maxwell James said in a statement. "This creates an excellent baseline for the wider development, where we hold consents to deliver 5,000 new London homes."

James said the early price indications at Wembley give the firm confidence to accelerate development, and "we are now well placed to maximise value for shareholders."

The company will also look to build up a broader London portfolio over time, making selective acquisitions where it sees the opportunity to add "incremental value".

Financially, net debt fell to GBP208.9 million from GBP443.6 million a year earlier. Gearing stood at 23%, providing capacity for investment across all areas of the business, the firm said.

At the open Friday, Quintain Estates shares are quoted up 2.2% at 94.00 pence.

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Source: Alliance News

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