UK trust rides out property storm

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

A UK-based property investment trust, which has its secondary listing on the JSE, reported record occupancy levels for the year ended December despite challenging conditions in the UK's property sector.

Liberty International said yesterday that it sees opportunities emerging from the unsettled UK financial and property markets this year.

The company's annual results released yesterday reported a year-on-year 10percent growth in net rental income from £341million (R5,1billion) in 2006 to £374million last year. Profit before tax was up by 6percent to £129million, compared to the previous year's £122million.

Prime retail constituted 90percent of business assets and the company attributed its exceptional business quality to the high degree of specialisation in that area.

Liberty's chief executive David Fischel said the company would be well placed this year to take advantage of opportunities in its existing assets.

He said: "We like shopping centres, that's 75 percent of our business. There are opportunities within the existing business. We don't need acquisitions to grow." - Additional reporting from I-Net Bridge