LandSec boasts £750m ‘war chest’

Specialist retail developer Land Securities posted strong half-year results as it clears debt and prepares to start a fresh round of development and investment.

LandSec sold retail parks in Aintree and Chester this year as part of a £1.5bn disposal programme.

The UK's largest listed property company said it has £750m to spend on its target areas: buying shopping centres with ready income and continuing its developments in the West End of London.

The revamp of St John's centre in Liverpool was put on hold for three years at the end of 2008. LandSec is also weighing up a joint venture with ING Real Estate at Northgate in Chester but no decision is imminent.

LandSec said its net asset value dropped 2.7% to 622p a share in the six months to 30 September.

Francis Salway, chief executive, said: "We are pleased that our portfolio has outperformed the market index, and that we have delivered our plans for balance sheet management through treasury activity and asset disposals.

"We are confident that, from the low point in July 2009, property values will rise over the next five years with the profile characterised by ripples rather than pure straight-line growth as residual risks and imbalances in financial markets play out.

"We are prepared to be patient for the best opportunities and we will not rush our investment programme, as we expect a broader range of opportunities to emerge once banks begin to take action on their property loan portfolios."

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