Shares in London West End property investor Shaftesbury (SHB) ticked up 0.7% to 464.6p despite delivering an effective profit warning and keeping dividends off the menu amid a big hit from Covid-19.

The company warned that fresh government restrictions could stymie a recent recovery in retail footfall.

The company said 41% of its rent due for the six months through September had been collected.

Another 10% was expected to be subject to deferred collection arrangements, 23% was being waived and 26% remained outstanding at 11 September.

The company’s EPRA vacancy rate at 31 August was 9.7% of rental value, compared to 4.8% at the end of March.

Residential accounted for 46% of the increase, as occupiers from overseas returned to their countries of origin and demand from long-stay international business and leisure travellers halted.

Shaftesbury said the West End had seen a gradual recovery in footfall since government restrictions were relaxed in late June.

Most of the 611 restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops in the portfolio have now reopened.

NEW RESTRICTIONS SET TO BITE

‘Responding to the recent sharp rise in UK Covid-19 infection rates, the government is now re-introducing national and localised restrictions, with a risk that further measures may be implemented until the situation is brought under control,’ the company explained.

Management has extended support arrangements for its tenants by a further three months to the end of 2020.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: ‘London is particularly reliant on footfall from office workers and foreign visitors, both of which are effectively being kept away by coronavirus restrictions which have just been tightened again.

‘That means far fewer visitors to the pubs, shops and restaurants which make up Shaftesbury’s portfolio and seriously compromises the ability of these concerns to pay rent. The group also faces an impact from an exodus of overseas renters of its flats.’

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Issue Date: 25 Sep 2020