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Land Securities battered by coronavirus pandemic

Land Securities set for restructuring after being battered by coronavirus pandemic, with £1bn wiped off value of its property portfolio

Landlords such as Land Securities have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The business saw £1billion wiped off the value of its property portfolio between March and September 2020. 

That was after Covid restrictions closed shops and shoppers flocked online, with footfall remaining weaker even as things started to reopen. 

And with many struggling shop tenants unable to pay rent – and temporary laws meaning they cannot be evicted – collections have also been poor. 

In the first three months of this year, Landsec said £36.3m of £110m owed in rent went unpaid – or 33 per cent. But as in the previous quarter, offices provided safer returns with 87 per cent of tenants paying on time. 

That has led boss Mark Allan to decide to focus more on London offices and mixed-used developments in future. 

He will simultaneously seek to offload about one third of Landsec’s £11.8billion portfolio, with hotels and retail parks in the frame to be jettisoned. 

However, in the meantime analysts predict Landsec will report a gruesome 29 per cent drop in revenues to £525m and a 61 per cent drop in profits to £220m. 

In better news for investors though, it is also expected to pay a 5p dividend – taking the full-year total to 23p a share. 

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said Landsec must now convince investors its future strategy is right. 

Landsec shares rose 1.9 per cent, or 13.6p, to 725.2p. They remain more than 25 per cent below their levels at the start of the pandemic. 


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