Annual results 2020: Strong operational performance; resilient business

20 May 2020

 

The Directors of Great Portland Estates plc announce the unaudited results for the Group for the year ended 31 March 2020.

Highlights1 for the year include: 

Valuation2 stable, supported by committed developments and office rental value growth

  • Portfolio valuation down 0.3%3 (developments: up 11.9%), with offices up 1.0%, retail down 3.5%
  • Rental value growth of 1.4%3 (+3.5% offices, -4.3% retail) v guidance of -2.0% to +1.5%
  • Total property return of 3.7%, with capital return of 0.3% v MSCI Central London (quarterly index) of -0.8%

Resilient financial performance; final dividend of 7.9 pence, with total dividend up 3.3%

  • IFRS and EPRA4 NAV per share of 868 pence, up 1.8% over twelve months; net assets of £2,203.1 million
  • EPRA4 earnings of £57.0 million, up 6.1% on 2019. Total accounting return5 of 3.2% (2019: 2.3%)
  • EPRA4 EPS of 22.0 pence, up 13.4%. Cash EPS of 17.9 pence, up 4.7%
  • IFRS profit after tax of £51.8 million (2019: £49.5 million)
  • Total dividend per share of 12.6 pence, up 3.3% on 2019, including final dividend of 7.9 pence (2019: 7.9 pence)

COVID-19 update; working collaboratively with our stakeholders

  • Extensive engagement with our occupiers, addressing requests for help on a case by case basis
  • 71.0% of March quarter rents collected (62.9% within seven working days), two-thirds of balance relates to occupiers from RHL7 sectors; seven occupier delinquencies since April 2019 (1.3% of rent roll); £25.8 million held in rent deposits/bank guarantees
  • All our properties remain open and operating to Government guidelines
  • New Community Fund launched today seeded with more than £280,000 from reduced fees/bonus payments to Board Directors, contributions by Executive Committee and Group matching – see separate announcement
  • No GPE employees furloughed and no current plans to access any UK Government COVID-19 funding

Exceptionally strong financial position; low LTV of 14.2% and total liquidity of £411 million

  • Property LTV of 14.2%, net gearing of 16.2% and interest cover not measurable
  • Substantial headroom above Group debt covenants (March values could fall 70% before breach)
  • Weighted average interest rate of 2.2%, weighted average debt maturity of 5.8 years
  • Cash of £111 million and undrawn committed facilities of £300 million; committed development and refurbishment capex to come of £66 million

Strong leasing, 8.8% ahead of ERV, vacancy rate low at 2.0%, £12.3 million under offer

  • £14.4 million p.a. let, 279,900 sq ft, market lettings 8.8% above March 2019 ERV
  • Flex space now c.11% of office portfolio (219,600 sq ft), expect robust demand post lockdown
  • 29 rent reviews totalling £13.2 million p.a., 19.7% ahead of passing rent, 1.5% ahead of ERV at review date
  • Vacancy rate 2.0%; average office rent £53.40 per sq ft; reversionary potential of 11.7% (£11.8 million)
  • Rent roll up 3.0%3 to £100.8 million, with total potential future growth of 50% to £151.4 million6
  • 13 lettings under offer totalling £12.3 million p.a. of rent, including three office pre-lettings

Good progress on three committed schemes, 48% pre-let or under offer

  • Three committed schemes (414,600 sq ft) progressing well, all near Crossrail and BREAAM Excellent, 14.7% forecast profit on cost, 48% pre-let or under offer, two completions expected in next six months despite delays due to COVID-19
  • Three near-term uncommitted pipeline schemes (821,600 sq ft) with expected capital expenditure and ERV of c.£600 million and c.£55 million p.a.
  • In total, ten pipeline schemes (1.4 million sq ft), all income producing, 2.6 years average lease length, 20.6% reversionary (existing use)
  • Total programme covering 56% of existing portfolio

£64.5 million sale, 11.8% above book value; new PropTech VC investment

  • 24/25 Britton Street, EC1 sold for £64.5 million, 11.8% above March 2019 book value reflecting net initial yield of 4.07% and capital value of £1,255 per sq ft, crystallising 15.7% p.a. IRR8
  • Commitment of up to £5 million to invest in Pi Labs European PropTech venture capital (‘VC’) fund

Sustainability touches everything we do; innovating to meet occupier needs; open and progressive culture

  • New sustainability statement of intent “The Time Is Now” launched today, including commitment to become net zero carbon business by 2030 – see separate announcement
  • New innovative £450 million ESG-linked revolving credit facility (‘RCF’) with headline margin of only 90bp
  • New app “sesame” successfully launched across portfolio, enhancing the level of service to our occupiers
  • New Inclusion & Diversity strategy launched, with National Equality Standard accreditation achieved

 

There will be a live conference call at 9.00am today, which will include a Q&A session with the GPE management team, on the following numbers:

Standard International Access

+44 (0) 20 3003 2666

UK Toll Free

0808 109 0700

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I am pleased to report on a strong operational performance for the year, with GPE today in the enviable position of being both well placed to withstand the impacts from the COVID crisis and able to look to our future with confidence. Whilst much of the year to March 2020 was characterised by political and economic uncertainty, nothing could have prepared us for the social and economic consequences of the COVID pandemic and I am proud of the response from each and every member of the GPE team. We are engaging extensively with our occupiers, offering assistance on a case by case basis and have established a new community fund, seeded by GPE’s people to bring some relief to those in London hardest hit by the crisis. As we examine the implications for our business, it is clear that we must plan for a recession with an increase in unemployment, leading to reduced occupational demand for space, implying falling rental and capital values. Key to our market’s performance will be both the depth of the downturn and the shape of the recovery. Given this uncertainty, we are pausing the provision of guidance on rental value movements until the picture becomes clearer. Whatever the outcome, whilst some working practices might change, our human desire to congregate and create underpins our belief that London’s magnetic appeal as a global business capital will persist for the long term. This belief is reinforced by our current leasing discussions, illustrating occupiers’ ongoing appetite to secure high quality, sustainable space. Guided by our strong purpose and unifying values, we have positioned GPE for any market eventuality; our low leverage is both defensive and gives us significant capacity for growth; our portfolio is virtually fully let, off low rents and has material upside potential from our extensive development pipeline; and our talented team with its deep market knowledge, combined with our financial strength, gives us the ability to choose our path to deliver on all our ambitions.

Toby Courtauld Chief Executive

1 All values include share of joint ventures unless otherwise stated  2 Valuation includes ‘Material Valuation Uncertainty Clause’ disclosure     3 On a like-for-like basis  4 In accordance with EPRA guidance  5 We prepare our financial statements using IFRS, however we also use a number of alternative performance measures in assessing and managing the performance of the business. These include like-for-like figures to aid in the comparability of the underlying business and proportionately consolidated measures, which represent the Group’s gross share of joint ventures rather than the net equity accounted presentation included in the IFRS financial statements. These metrics have been disclosed as management review and monitor performance of the business on this basis. We have also included a number of measures defined by EPRA, which are designed to enhance transparency and comparability across the European Real Estate sector, see note 9 to the financial statements.  6 Excludes development pipeline potential 7 Retail, Hospitality & Leisure      Since refurbishment in 2011 

  • Nick Sanderson

    Finance and Operations Director

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  • Stephen Burrows

    Director of Financial Reporting & Investor Relations

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    Gordon Simpson

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    T: +44 (0) 20 7251 3801

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