May 12, 2020 / 6:38 AM / 14 days ago

Land Securities annual loss widens to over $1 billion

(Reuters) - Property developer Land Securities (LAND.L) on Tuesday reported an annual pretax loss of more than $1 billion as coronavirus-driven shutdowns forced tenants to default on rent payments, and more stores closed amid an already failing retail market.

The company, which manages the Bluewater Shopping Centre in southeast England, said its loss widened to 837 million pounds ($1.03 billion) for the full year ended March 31, compared with a loss of 123 million pounds last year.

Retail property owners and tenants have been working together to defer rent payments and find other solutions that will help shops, businesses and landlords to ride out the crisis stemming from coronavirus shutdowns.

Land Securities also said the value of its assets declined during the year due to a challenging retail environment and ongoing structural changes, exacerbated by the early effects of COVID-19.

British retailers suffered their biggest fall in sales since the 2008 financial crisis in the first half of April, data from the Confederation of British Industry showed, as COVID-19 kept shoppers at home and forced store closures.

Many retail firms are also shutting stores to cut costs and focus on online space, dealing a blow to real estate firms that get a large chunk of their business from retailers.

The company’s EPRA net asset value (NAV) - a key industry metric that reflects the value of a firm’s buildings - was down 11.6% to 1,192 pence.

Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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