London owner Shaftesbury “will only collect 50% of rents” | Business


Shaftesbury, a commercial property owner who owns large parts of Soho, Covent Garden, Chinatown and the West End in central London, has warned shareholders that he aims to collect only 50% of the rents due this summer, because almost all of its tenants remain closed in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic.Brian Bickell, CEO of Shaftesbury, said the rules of physical foreclosure and distancing had a “significant impact on normal lifestyles and trade, both for our occupants and for the short-term prospects of our business and our financial performance. ”

Bickell said the company is in talks with about 800 commercial tenants about tailor-made solutions to reduce rent and service charges to allow stores and restaurants to get through the foreclosure. Shaftesbury told shareholders its “goal [is] collect c. 50% of rents due from April to September 2020 over time. ”

According to Shaftesbury, the value of its 15.2-acre real estate portfolio has dropped by £ 300 million since the start of the pandemic, reflecting low rental yields. The depreciation represents a drop of 7.9% in the value of the portfolio to £ 3.5 billion.

Almost all of the shops and restaurants in Soho and the surrounding area remain closed, compared to the main regional streets, where some cafes and non-essential retailers have reopened for takeout. The passing trade in Soho is weak because few people live in the region. Normally, streets like Carnaby Street are packed with office workers or people going to London to shop and socialize.

Shaftesbury recorded a pre-tax loss of £ 287.6 million in the six months ending March, compared to a profit of £ 38.7 million for the same period a year earlier. The company’s shares, which have lost about a third of their value since the start of the pandemic, 3.5% to 625p Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Hong Kong billionaire Samuel Tak Lee agreed to sell his 26.3% stake in Shaftesbury to compete with central London owner Capital & Counties Properties.


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