Liberty to demerge as British retail market improves

Posted On Thursday, 06 May 2010 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Liberty International says it has seen a much lower level of retailer failures in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year.

 

Property-Housing-ResidentialUK-Based property company Liberty International says it has seen a much lower level of retailer failures in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year.

In an interim management statement released yesterday, the group, which has a significant South African shareholding, said its Capital Shopping Centres’ occupancy rate had been maintained at 98%.

The group, which is demerging into two divisions in order to give shareholders an option to diversify their investments, said it was pleased that the UK retail market had stabilised.

While the pipeline for new shopping centres had been curtailed by recent economic conditions, the group said prospects for the performance of Capital Shopping Centres’s assets were nevertheless encouraging.

Capital & Counties, its central London business, had continued to perform “strongly”, with Covent Garden still recording increases in footfall.

The demerger announced in March was now largely complete.

“We expect the two companies to start to trade separately on 10 May. We believe that Capital Shopping Centres and Capital & Counties are well positioned as stand-alone businesses to execute their own significant strategic plans and deliver strong shareholder returns over time,” the group said in the interim management statement.

Liberty shareholders would now have the option to invest in the shopping centre portfolio, housed in Capital Shopping Centres, or the nonretail portfolio, housed in Capital & Counties.

The two businesses would be separately listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The group hoped that shareholders would have a choice to invest purely in one portfolio, which had not been the case when the two businesses were bundled together.

CEO David Fischel has said that due to Liberty’s changing approach to investment in real estate, both in equity markets and in the property market, the two businesses required greater focus and more active management.

He said Capital Shopping Centres and Capital & Counties would execute their own strategic plans, and engage with investors who would select their individual weightings in each business over time.

The Capital & Counties business has become an attractive central London focused business concentrated on three landmark estates, including Covent Garden and Earls Court & Olympia.

The business had been almost entirely created in the past five years with the active involvement of its management team for much of that time

While retail trade in the UK continued to gravitate towards the strongest destinations, the pipeline of new retail space had been greatly shortened, to the benefit of existing centres.

Last modified on Saturday, 26 April 2014 10:31

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