Shaftesbury, a London-based landlord, has reported a significant decrease in the value of its property portfolio as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The value of the portfolio dropped by 7.9% to £3.5 billion during the first half of the 2020 financial year. This decline can be attributed to the company’s struggle to collect rent from retailers who were severely impacted by the crisis. As a result, Shaftesbury suffered a loss of £287.6 million for the six months ending on March 31st, which stands in stark contrast to the £38.7 million profit earned during the same period last year.

Despite these challenges, shares in Shaftesbury experienced a rise in early trading following reassurances from CEO Brian Bickell. He emphasized the company’s “long history of structural resilience” and focused on the future prospects of Shaftesbury’s portfolio. Bickell stressed London’s status as one of the world’s leading cities and its potential to support the long-term success of the company. He also discussed the company’s plans for the future, which include offering customized rent solutions for tenants and transitioning from quarterly to monthly rent collections. Shaftesbury anticipates that lease structures will evolve to meet the new needs arising from the post-Covid-19 era, signaling a commitment to increased flexibility.

Additionally, there has been speculation about a potential merger between Shaftesbury and property peer Capco. Capco recently acquired a £436 million stake in Shaftesbury, leading to rumors of a possible collaboration between the two companies. Capco owns a significant estate in Covent Garden, another prominent location within London.

Overall, Shaftesbury is currently facing a challenging period due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the company remains optimistic about the future and highlights the long-term prospects of its portfolio along with its ability to adapt to changing circumstances. With plans to provide tailored rent solutions and increased flexibility in lease structures, Shaftesbury is strategically positioning itself to navigate the post-Covid-19 landscape and sustain its success in the highly competitive London property market.

Useful links:
1. Shaftesbury Investor Relations
2. Capco Investors