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Workspace profits halved by Brexit uncertainty

George Sell Uploaded 07 June 2020 UK: Workspace Group has seen a 47 per cent drop in pre-tax profits in its due to uncertainty around Brexit and the general election.

In the year to 31 March 2020, the group recorded profit before tax of £72.5 million, down 47 per cent on the previous year but it increased its final dividend payment by 10 per cent to 36.16p per share.

During the financial year the business sold four properties for a combined £65 million at a 21 per cent premium on their valuation as of 31 March 2019.

The business also completed four projects, adding 200,000 square feet of office space to its portfolio during the year, and the letting of new space added £7.8 million to its rent toll.

It said it has seen a “significant slowdown” in enquiries moving into the current financial year as it started to feel the impact of Covid-19.

The group said the majority of its customers have been given a 50 per cent rent reduction until the end of June 2020 as well as deferrals on a case-by-case basis.

“Over the past year, my first as chief executive, Workspace has had to deal with the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the general election. However, that has now been eclipsed by the dramatic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Workspace Group chief executive Graham Clemett. “I want to thank our teams across Workspace for their efforts during this time. They have been working flat out, many of them working remotely, keeping the business running, our centres open and engaging with customers.

“As a company, we felt it was important to support customers where we could and hope that the 50% rent reduction and deferral agreements we have offered to the majority of our customers have gone some way to lessen the burden of this crisis. We have been readying our business centres for the increasing return of customers, putting in place extensive measures to enable social distancing and promote good hygiene. Freehold ownership of our properties means we can quickly adapt them to cater for these new requirements. We believe that, with our well-established flexible offer and the quality of our space and services, Workspace is ideally positioned to benefit as London recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

Workspace Group plc is a REIT, based in London. Founded in 1987 by the privatisation of property assets of the former Greater London Council, the company lets office, industrial and workshop space to small and medium-sized enterprises.


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