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British Land portfolio value drops 10pc

Investment trust British Land has recorded a 10 per cent slide in the value of its portfolio, sending the firm’s pre-tax losses soaring.

The UK's second largest property company today posted a pre-tax loss of £1.6 billion – a far cry from last year’s corresponding profits of £1.44 billion.

But the firm achieved an 11 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profit, which reached £284 million for the year ending March 31.

The results bore followed last week’s announcement by rival Land Securities in which it revealed £1.3 billion – equivalent to 8.8 per cent – had been wiped off its real estate portfolio.

In a statement, British Land said the decline in property values was slowing, indicating investor interest may be firming at current levels.

Chief executive Stephen Hester added: "In 2007/8 British Land’s portfolio outperformed the property market indices, benefiting from attractive rental growth.

"Nevertheless values fell, driven by broader market turbulence. We remain in a stressed economic and market environment.

"However, British Land has never been in better shape to weather the downturn and emerge with growth prospects intact or even enhanced."

British Land owns and manages property assets with a total value of £17.9 billion, including the 446,000 sq m Broadgate Estate in the City of London and the 100,000 sq m Regent’s Place in the West End.