Belfast Telegraph

British Land warns Brexit uncertainty will linger for 'considerable time'

Commercial property group British Land has cautioned over Brexit uncertainty lingering for "some considerable time", but said financial firms still value London as a global hub.

The firm said businesses were taking longer to commit amid worries over Brexit and were focusing on the "best quality" space.

Chief executive Chris Grigg said: " Looking forward, the picture is a mixed one. The Brexit process has begun but uncertainty will continue for some considerable time."

He added: "London occupiers, particularly financial institutions, are making contingency plans but there is a wide range of possible outcomes here.

"Our conversations with occupiers tell us that a large majority continue to value London and believe in its place as a global centre, as we do."

His comments came as the group unveiled annual results showing pre-tax profits plunged 85% to £195 million in the year to the end of March after its property values fell 1.4%.

But the group said it had seen a bounce back in net asset values since a post-Brexit vote drop, up 1.6% in the second half.

Pre-tax profits rose 7.4% to £390 million on an underlying basis.

The commercial property sector was sent reeling after the EU referendum last June amid fears over plunging prices following the vote.

However, British Land saw a vote of confidence in the capital after it clinched a £1.2 billion deal in March to sell London's ''Cheesegrater'' building to the investment vehicle of Chinese property magnate Cheung Chung Kiu

CC Land agreed to snap up the Leadenhall Building, owned jointly by British Land and Oxford Properties, for a significant premium to the most recent valuation of £915 million last September.

Mr Grigg cheered a "good set of results" despite an "uncertain environment over the last 12 months".

"We are particularly pleased by the increase in underlying profits, by our strong leasing performance across the business and by the very successful sales we have made," he added.