June 10, 2020 / 6:47 AM / a month ago

Shaftesbury seeks to collect 50% of rents due from April-September

(Reuters) - Shaftesbury (SHB.L) said on Wednesday it would aim to collect 50% of rents due for the months between April and September and permanently move commercial tenants on to monthly rents from October as part of moves to reset leases hit by the coronavirus crisis.

FILE PHOTO: General view of a near deserted Carnaby Street as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. London, Britain March 21, 2020 REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

The real estate firm, which focuses on restaurants, leisure and retail in London’s West End, said its EPRA net asset value was down 10.6% to 8.78 pounds for the half-year period ended March 31.

A net asset value is a key industry metric that reflects the value of a firm’s buildings.

The company said the decline in asset value of 300.4 million pounds was due to a drop in fair value.

Shaftesbury also said it was in talks with about 800 of its commercial tenants to agree to tailored solutions on rents and service charges.

“... Growing impact of the measures to address the pandemic are having a material impact on normal patterns of life and commerce, both for our occupiers and on the near-term prospects for our business and financial performance”, Chief Executive Officer Brian Bickell said.

After COVID-19-related provisions, the company’s underlying property income fell to 46.2 million pounds, compared with 48.6 million pounds it reported in the same period last year.

Earlier this month, its London rival Capital & Counties Properties (CAPCC.L) had agreed to snap up a 26.3% stake in the company from Hong Kong tycoon Samuel Tak Lee for 436 million pounds ($556.51 million).

If the deal is approved by Capco’s shareholders, the company will be the largest shareholder in Shaftesbury.

According to Refinitiv Eikon data, Capco currently owns a 21% stake in Shaftesbury.

Shares of the company rise 0.5% to 651 pence.

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

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