Queen scores record profit from booming London property

LONDON Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:02am BST

Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives on the fifth day of the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot in southern England June 22, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives on the fifth day of the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot in southern England June 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - The Crown Estate - owned by the Queen - on Thursday said it made record profit in the year to March, thanks to the strong performance of its central London properties.

Crown Estate's 5.2 percent rise in profits to 252.6 million pounds gives the queen a 38 million pounds 2014/15 payout, pegged at 15 percent of the total by a 2012 law designed to link her income to the UK's economic health.

The rest of the profits go to Britain's Treasury or finance ministry. Chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday detailed 11.5 billion pounds of spending cuts.

Owner of wind farms and most of Britain's sea bed along with its Regent Street properties, the company has outperformed the wider economy due to strong overseas interest in London property and the UK's growing reliance on green energy.

"We are proud that another record Crown Estate performance will again make a strong contribution to the nation's finances," said Chairman Stuart Hampson. The company's property portfolio is now worth 8.1 billion pounds.

The Queen - whose payout rose 20 percent to 36 million this year - was previously paid by taxpayers through an allowance set by parliament and other government grants.

It is not allowed to borrow in capital markets and has formed joint ventures with overseas funds to finance its redevelopment plans. In May, it signed a 320 million pound deal with Oxford Properties, owned by one of Canada's largest pension funds, to redevelop London's upmarket St James's Market district.

The Queen, who celebrated the 60th anniversary of her coronation earlier this month, uses her salary mainly to pay the royal household's staff as well as items such as laundry, stationery and official functions.

The Crown Estate belongs to the reigning king or queen but its properties cannot be sold by the monarch. King George III ceded its profits to the government in 1760.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Louise Ireland and Tom Bill)

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