Great Portland Estates has raised the interim dividend by 8.1% and increased its rental guidance for the financial year. EPRA net asset vale per share rose to 813p in the six months to the end of September, an increase of 1.8% and largely due to the 1.0% like-for-like increase in value of the property portfolio. Net assets totalled £2,634.8 million (31 Mar: £2,738.4 million). It said the reduction was primarily due to the payment of a £110 million special dividend in the period. The group saw rental value growth of 0.7%2 (0.5% offices, 1.7% retail); yield contraction of 4 bps. Total property return was 2.4%, with capital return of 1.0% v IPD Central London (quarterly index) of 2.9%. The group has upgraded rental value growth guidance for financial year: range now +1.5% to minus 2.5%. Chief executive Toby Courtauld said: 'We are pleased to report a good set of results with all our key financial performance measures moving in the right direction and our balance sheet as strong as ever. 'Another successful leasing performance has driven voids lower and rent roll to a new record whilst a busy period of portfolio activity has delivered increases in both rental and capital values. 'As a result, we have raised the interim dividend by 8.1% and increased our rental guidance for the financial year. 'Today, in spite of the macro-economic and political uncertainties, tenant interest remains healthy across our portfolio with £6.9 million of lettings currently under offer. 'Moreover, activity and pricing in central London's commercial property market remains robust for prime assets, offering potential opportunities for us to crystallise further surpluses through sales in the near term. 'Although we can expect some weakness in market rents and secondary yields during this period of uncertainty, demographic growth and the broad spread and depth of the capital's economic activity will help to cement its position as one of only a handful of truly global cities and Europe's business capital, generating demand for our brand of well designed, centrally located, high quality space. 'Additionally, we can look forward to Crossrail, Europe's largest infrastructure project, near to which 86% of our portfolio sits, opening in late 2018. 'With a clear and focused strategy, we look to our future with confidence; after more than four years of net sales, we have the financial strength to exploit any future market weakness; our investment portfolio is let off low average rents with plenty of near-term reversion to capture; our future development opportunities, covering 40% of our portfolio, are stronger than ever, including three potential starts in 2018; and, our first class, strengthened team is ready to capitalise on this period of uncertainty.'
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