Land Securities selects Carnwath as new chairman

Michael Hunt

Land Securities, owner of The Strand, located in Bootle, Liverpool, St John's and Clayton Square shopping centres in Liverpool city centre, has appointed Alison Carnwath as new Group chairman in the wake of its report of a 20% drop in net asset value for the six months to the end of September.

Carnwath is currently chairman of M F Global and a non-executive director at Land Securities and has been since September 2004.

Land Securities has revealed the impact of falling property values has caused debt ratios increase with the Group net debt down by £175.1m.

Commenting on the half-yearly results released today, chief executive of Land Securities, Francis Salway, said: "The retail sector has been affected by the wider economic pressures in the UK and this has flowed through to the retail property market. Investment markets have seen very low turnover levels and falling values.

"Signs of stabilisation were apparent in July and August prior to the start of the latest banking crisis, but this has created a further setback. The occupational market has not been immune to the wider economic outlook and a number of retailers have suffered from declining like-for-like sales."

However, Salway did state shopping centre openings across the UK in 2008 have generally let up well, with most retailers continuing to trade profitably.

He added: "Our results reflect the fact that we are going through an unprecedented period of financial instability which has severely impacted investor confidence, the availability of credit and the pricing of property investments."

Land Securities will continue work on its £2m transformation of Clayton Square in Liverpool city centre, which is expected to be completed by spring next year.

Commenting on her appointment, 55-year-old Carnwath said: "Land Securities has a talented management team who are working hard to address the effects on our business of these unprecedented challenges in the market. I look forward to leading the Board through these turbulent times and shaping the business for the future."

Carnwath is replacing Paul Myners as Group chairman.

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